NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a group of north polar dunes in late spring, just before the final patches of wintertime frost sublimed away. The dunes beneath the frost are dark because they contain minerals rich in reduced (unoxidized) iron. The dune slip faces (the steepest slopes on the dunes) point toward the upper right (northeast), indicating that the dominant winds involved in sand transport in this region blow from the lower left (southwest). These dunes are located near 76.3°N, 261.1°W. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and 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.