Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Frosty Wind Streaks

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-532, 2 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

As seasonal polar frosts sublime away each spring, winds may re-distribute some of the frost or move sediment exposed from beneath the frost. This action creates ephemeral wind streaks that can be used by scientists seeking to study the local circulation of the martian atmosphere. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a suite of wind streaks created in subliming carbon dioxide frost. These dark streaks appear to conform to the shape of the slopes on which they occur, suggesting that slope winds play a dominant role in creating and orienting these streaks. This picture is located near 73.8°S, 305.7°W. The image is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Winds responsible for the streaks generally blew from the bottom/right (south/southeast) toward the top/upper left (north/northwest).

Tips for Media Use

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.

To MSSS Home Page