NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a summertime scene in the south polar region of the red planet. A patch of bright frost--possibly water ice--is seen in the lower third of the image. Polygon patterns that have developed in the ice as it sublimes away can be seen; these are not evident in the defrosted surfaces, so they are thought to have formed in the frost. This image is located near 82.6°S, 352.5°W. Sunlight illuminates this scene from the upper left; the image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.
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.