NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
West Candor Chasma, a part of the vast Valles Marineris trough system, is known for its layered sedimentary rock outcrops. It is less known for dark fields of windblown sand, but that is what occurs in the north-central part of the chasm. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image, obtained in December 2003, shows the interplay of dark, wind-blown sand with buttes and mesas of layered rock in west Candor Chasma. Dark streamers of sand point toward the east/southeast (right/lower right), indicating that dominant winds blow from the west. This picture is located near 5.2°S, 75.7°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.