NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This April 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark sand dunes in a crater north of Syrtis Major near 27.1°N, 297.2°W. The steepest slopes on each dune face toward the bottom/lower left of the image, indicating that the dominant winds that influenced their formation came from the north (the top of the image). Layers are exposed in a butte at the lower right corner of the picture; this butte is a remnant of layered rock that once covered the entire crater floor on which the dunes occur. This picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight 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.