Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Defrosting Sand

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-468, 30 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) narrow angle camera image, acquired in July 2003, shows a field of eroded dunes and patches of sand covered by carbon dioxide frost that accumulated during the previous winter. This springtime view shows that the frost has begun to sublime away, leaving dark patches and streaks on the dune surfaces. Wind has blown across the terrain, as well, causing some of the dark spots to elongate toward the left (west). The sand is located in a depression near 78.5°S, 254.3°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left. The area shown is about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

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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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