Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

South Polar Polygons

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-655, 4 March 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a spectacular suite of large and small polygons in the south polar region. On Earth, polygons such as these would be indicators of the presence of ground ice. Whether this is true for Mars remains to be determined, but it is interesting to note that these polygons do occur in a region identified by the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) team as a place with possible ground ice. The polygons are in an old impact crater located near 62.9°S, 281.4°W. This 1.5 meter (5 ft.) per pixel view covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. To see the smaller set of polygons, the reader must view the full-resolution image (click on picture, above).

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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.

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