Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Carbon Dioxide Landscape

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1161, 23 July 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a view of some of the widely-varied terrain of the martian south polar residual cap. The landforms here are composed mainly of frozen carbon dioxide. Each year since MGS arrived in 1997, the scarps that bound each butte and mesa, or line the edges of each pit, in the south polar region, have changed a little bit as carbon dioxide is sublimed away. The scarps retreat at a rate of about 3 meters (~3 yards) per martian year. Most of the change occurs during each southern summer.
Location near: 86.7°S, 9.8°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern Spring

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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.

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