NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This is a late southern summer Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) view of the sand dune field in Richardson Crater. In winter and spring, the dunes are covered by carbon dioxide frost. Dozens of MOC images acquired over the past several Mars years (available in the MOC Gallery) show the progression of defrosting patterns on this dune field. In summer, there is no carbon dioxide frost. Small dark streaks on some of the dune slip face slopes are the sites of the most recent avalanches of sand. The slip faces also indicate that the general direction of sand transport is from right (east) to left (west). This image is near 72.4°S, 180.6°W. The picture is illuminated 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.