NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Today, 29 September 2003, is the first day of southern summer, and the first day of northern winter on Mars. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a small volcano in Syria Planum near 12.9°S, 102.7°W. The volcano and surrounding terrain have been thickly mantled by dust; this dust has subsequently been eroded so that it appears textured rather than smooth. The thin, light streaks that crisscross the image are the tracks left by passing dust devils. Not all dust devils on Mars make streaks, and not all streaks are darker than their surroundings---those found in Syria Planum are invariably lighter in tone. The picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across; sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, California and Denver, Colorado.