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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Polar Summer

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1327, 30 December 2005

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows eroding mesas of frozen carbon dioxide in the martian south polar residual cap. During the summer season, the scarps that bound each pit and mesa in the south polar region become dark as carbon dioxide sublimes away. The darkening might result from the roughening of the surfaces from which ice is subliming, or from the concentration of trace amounts of dust on these slopes, or both.
Location near: 84.7°S, 48.2°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern Summer

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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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