Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Carbon Dioxide Mesas

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-851, 16 September 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows two large and many small mesas composed of frozen carbon dioxide on the south polar cap of Mars. MGS has observed the south polar cap through three whole summers, and MOC images have shown that the scarps on these mesas retreat an average of 3 meters---some retreat faster, some a bit slower---per martian summer. The south polar cap is the most rapidly-changing landscape on Mars. These mesas are located near 86.5°S, 358.5°W. The image covers an area approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) across and 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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