Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
Patches of Remnant Frost/Snow on Crater Rim in Northern Summer
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-101, 23 March 1999
March 1999--it is summer in the martian northern hemisphere, yet
patches of frost or snow persist in some areas of the northern
plains. Winter ended eight months earlier, in July 1998. Recently,
the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) passed over a relatively small impact
crater located at latitude 68°N (on the Vastitas Borealis plain,
north of Utopia Planitia) and took the picture seen
at the left, above. The curved crater rims are visible in the
upper and lower quarters of the image, and the crater floor is visible
at the center right.
The picture on the right is a magnified view of the crater rim area
outlined by a white box in the image on the left. The bright patches
are snow or frost left over from the martian winter. These snow
fields are so small that a human could walk across one of them in a
matter of minutes--or perhaps sled down the small, sloping
patch that is seen in a shadowed area near the lower left.
In winter, the entire scene shown here would be covered by frost.
The long strip at the left covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide by 26 km
(16 mi) long. The expanded view on the right covers an area
2.9 km (1.8 mi) by 5.3 km (3.3 mi). Illumination is from the upper right.
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,
CA. 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, CA
and Denver, CO.
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