NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Many Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images exhibit wild patterns of dark streaks thought to have formed by the passage of many dust devils. The dust devils disrupt the dust coating the martian surface, leaving behind a streak. However, not all dust devils make streaks, and not all dust devil streaks are dark. Some are light---it simply depends upon which is darker, the substrate or the dust that the spinning vortex disrupts. The example of light-toned dust devil streaks shown here is located in southern Schiaparelli Basin near 5.3°S, 343.3°W. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across; sunlight illuminates the scene from the left/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.