NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows barchan sand dunes west of the Meroe Patera volcanic caldera in central Syrtis Major. The winds that shape these dunes blow from the right/upper right (northeast). The surface across which the dunes have traveled is probably composed of volcanic rocks; the dunes, too, may have volcanic materials, such as sand-sized grains of tephra--volcanic ash--in them. This October 2003 view is located near 7.4°N, 292.3°W, and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower 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.