Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

South Polar Ice Cap

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-337, 21 April 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows the "swiss cheese" pattern of frozen carbon dioxide on the south polar residual cap. Observation of these materials over two Mars years has revealed that the scarps that bound the mesas and small buttes are retreating---the carbon dioxide ice is subliming away--at a rate of about 3 meters (3 yards) per Mars year in some places. The picture covers an area about 900 m (about 900 yards) wide near 87.1°S, 93.7°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper 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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