NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows banded terrain of the north polar region of Mars. The bands are exposures of layered material, possibly composed of dust and ice. The dark, rounded to elliptical mounds in this image might be the locations of ancient sand dunes that were completely buried in the north polar layered material. In more recent times, these mounds have been exhumed from within the layered material. Alternatively, the dark features are not ancient, exhumed dunes, but perhaps the remnants of a dark layer of material that once covered the entire area shown in the image. These features are located near 79.9°N, 31.4°W. The image covers an area about 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.