Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

South Polar Sand Dunes

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-560, 30 November 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This October 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows sand dunes in the southern high latitudes of Mars. Unlike dunes at more northerly latitudes, south polar dunes tend to lack sharp, crisp features. Instead, they are often rounded, smoothed, and, in some cases (as toward the lower 1/3 of this image), flattened. These observations suggest that south polar dunes may be somewhat cemented and are presently (or fairly recently in the past) undergoing erosion. This dune field is located near 63.7°S, 201.2°W. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide, and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.

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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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