NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
In recent weeks, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) blue wide angle images have been showing clouds high in the atmosphere over the Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B), Opportunity, landing site in Meridiani Planum. This view of the sunward limb of Mars shows an example. It was acquired by the MOC blue camera late last week on 29 April 2004. The "x" shows the location of the rover site. The bright features in this image are water ice clouds. The dark portion of the image on the left is outer space. Clouds can also be seen in a zone approximately 20 to 40 kilometers (12-25 miles) above the martian limb. North is approximately up, east is toward the right, and sunlight illuminates the scene from the left (west). The image runs along the limb from about latitudes 4°S to about 2°N.
Additional details about clouds over the Opportunity rover site have been described in the recent weekly Mars Exploration Rover weather reports.
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.