NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
The north polar cap of Mars is nearly surrounded by fields of dark sand dunes. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows some of the north polar dunes as they appeared in late winter in January 2004. At the time, the dunes were covered with frost. The image is located near 77.8°N, 52.8°W. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene 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.