NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Spring is upon the martian northern hemisphere, and the north polar cap is shrinking. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image, acquired on 12 June 2004, shows the retreating edge of the seasonal north polar cap near 70°N, 209°W. Low clouds and fogs stream away from the cap edge as it sublimes away. North is approximately up and the image covers an area roughly 500 km (311 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left. The crater containing a thick mound of material near the right-center of the image is Korolev.
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.