Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Cracks and Lines

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-749, 6 June 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) picture shows an odd area of the south polar region that has sets of fine, nearly parallel lines running from the northeast (upper right) toward southwest (lower left) and a darker, wider set of cracks with a major trend running almost perpendicular to the finer lines. The appearance of these features is enhanced by seasonal frost. Dark areas have no frost, bright areas still have frozen carbon dioxide ice. In summer, the ice would be gone and the cracks and lines less obvious when viewed from orbit. Although unknown, wind might be responsible for forming the fine set of lines, and perhaps freeze-thaw cycles of ground ice or structural deformation would have contributed to formation of the wider cracks. The image is located near 85.0°S, 324.0°W, and covers an area about 1.5 km (nearly 1 mi) across. The scene is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.

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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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