Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Frozen Carbon Dioxide

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1170, 1 August 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a south polar residual cap landscape, formed in frozen carbon dioxide. There is no place on Earth that one can go to visit a landscape covering thousands of square kilometers with frozen carbon dioxide, so mesas, pits, and other landforms of the martian south polar region are as alien as they are beautiful. The scarps of the south polar region are known from thousands of other MGS MOC images to retreat at a rate of about 3 meters (~3 yards) per martian year, indiating that slowly, over the course of the MGS mission, the amount of carbon dioxide in the martian atmosphere has probably been increasing.
Location near: 86.9°S, 25.5°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern Spring

Tips for Media Use

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.

To MSSS Home Page