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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

CO2 Hourglass

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1442, 24 April 2006

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 a portion of the south polar residual cap of Mars. The bright, relatively homogeneous-appearing material extending from top (north) to bottom (south) is mainly composed of solid carbon dioxide. During the martian summer months, sublimation, the direct conversion of a solid to a gas, causes the scarps that delineate the edges of the bright material to retreat by approximately 3 meters (around 10 feet) before autumn begins.
Location near: 87.1°S, 94.0°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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