Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

High Latitude Polygons

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-856, 21 September 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows polygon patterned ground in the south polar region near 82.0°S, 90.8°W. Polygons are fairly common at high latitudes in both martian hemispheres, but they do not occur everywhere. On Earth, features such as these would be good indicators of the presence and freeze-thaw cycles of ground ice. On Mars, the same might (emphasis on might) also be true. This image covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. Seasonal frost enhances the contrast in the scene; the darkest areas have advanced the farthest in the springtime defrosting process.

Tips for Media Use

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.

To MSSS Home Page