NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a mid-summer view of the south polar residual cap at full MOC resolution, 1.5 m (5 ft) per pixel. During each of the three summers since the start of the MGS mapping mission in March 1999, the scarps that form mesas and pits in the "Swiss cheese"-like south polar terrain have retreated an average of about 3 meters (~1 yard). The material is frozen carbon dioxide; another 3 meters or so of each scarp is expected to be removed during the next summer, in late 2005. This image is located near 86.0°S, 350.8°W, and covers an area about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the top/upper 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.