NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
The north polar cap of Mars overlies a series of layered materials. The upper-most layers are light-toned and may include ice and perhaps dust. The lower layers may be less icy and contain some amount of dark sand. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an exposure of north polar layers located near 83.9°N, 237.9°W. This view covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight 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.