NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows frost-covered north polar dunes in early January 2004. When this picture was taken, the dunes were in twilight, just before the late winter dawn that would come a few days later. These dunes spent many of the last several months in complete darkness. In this image, they are illuminated only by sunlight that has been scattered over the horizon by the martian atmosphere. These dunes are located near 77.0°N, 246.2°W. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and has been expanded by 200% from its original 12 meters (39 ft.) per pixel scale. While the sun had not yet risen when the image was obtained, illumination is mostly 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.