Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Summer South Polar Cap

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-617, 26 January 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This January 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows what the martian south polar residual cap looks like in the middle of summer. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the top/upper left. The picture shows mesas composed of frozen carbon dioxide, each about 2-5 meters (6-16 ft.) high. Sunlight has darkened the slopes around the mesas as carbon dioxide sublimes away throughout the summer. The image is located near 86.2°S, 351.4°W, and covers an area 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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