NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Frost-covered dunes develop spots and streaks as they begin to defrost in springtime. This April 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a suite of north polar dunes in the early stages of the defrosting process. At the time the image was acquired, Mars was only 1 month into the northern spring season. The picture is located near 75.9°N, 266.0°W, and is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.
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.