Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Defrosting North Polar Dune Field

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-331, 15 April 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image captures frost-covered north polar sand dunes in springtime as they are beginning to defrost. Dark spots and streaks indicate areas where frozen carbon dioxide has started to be removed by sublimation and wind. The picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide near 76.3°N, 264.9°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

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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