NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark, windblown sand dunes on the floor of Herschel Crater. The surfaces of the dunes have grooves eroded into them. This indicates that the sand is not loose, like it is in typical sand dunes on Earth. Instead, the sand is cemented, and wind erosion has been slowly scouring the indurated sands away to create small-scale wind erosion features, known as yardangs. This picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across, and is located near 15.6°S, 229.0°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the 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.