NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image, acquired during northern summer in December 2004, shows dark, windblown sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars. A vast sea of sand dunes nearly surrounds the north polar cap. These landforms are located near 80.3°N, 144.1°W. Light-toned features in the image are exposures of the substrate that underlies the dune field. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight 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.