NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows troughs eroded into the south polar residual cap. The residual cap is made largely of frozen carbon dioxide, which freezes on Mars at a temperature around 148 Kelvin (about -125°C, -193°F). When this picture was acquired in early summer during October 2003, the temperature at the surface probably was very close to 148 Kelvin (brrrr!). Sunlight illuminates this image from the upper left; it is located near 86.9°S, 15.7°W. The 200 meter scale bar is approximately 656 feet across.
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.