NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Both the north and south polar ice caps overlie a thick accumulation of layered material. For more than three decades, these deposits have been assumed to consist of a mixture of dust and ice. This October 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows some of the north polar layers exposed on a slope located near 79.1°N, 348.4°W. The image covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower 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.