Images Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
Caption by: B. C. Cantor, K. S. Edgett, and M. C. Malin, MSSS
Center longitude: 180° W
Center longitude: 120° W
Center longitude: 60° W
Center longitude: 0°
Center longitude: 300° W
Center longitude: 240° W
The six views of Mars shown here are a composite of the 24 daily global images acquired by MOC on February 14, 2003. At this time, it was the middle of summer in the northern hemisphere, and the middle of winter in the south. Taken together, the six views show the entire planet, its albedo (bright and dark) features, polar frosts, and cloud patterns. Water-ice clouds dominate the martian atmosphere over the tropical and sub-tropical latitudes, while orographically-generated (i.e. those associated with high-standing topography) water-ice clouds hang over each of the large volcanoes of the Tharsis and Elysium regions (see MOC2-326a, MOC2-326b, MOC326f).
In the north polar region, the residual water-ice cap is fully exposed. In the southern hemisphere, the winter-time seasonal carbon dioxide frost cap can be seen, extending from the south pole (which is in darkness and not seen in these images) northward to 50°S latitude. In the deep Hellas Basin (an ancient, giant impact scar seen as the bright elliptical feature at the bottom of MOC2-326e), the winter-time cap extends northward to 31°S because the lower elevation permits carbon dioxide to freeze at slightly higher temperatures than at the high elevations elsewhere in the southern hemisphere.
When these pictures were taken on February 14, 2003, dust storm activity was at a minimum and isolated to early morning hours around the edges of the north polar cap. Within a day, however, dust storm activity began to pick up in both hemispheres--as was expected from previous MOC images at this time of year in 1999 and 2001--and dust storms remained active through the rest of February and March.
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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