Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Polar Barchans

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-793, 20 July 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark, barchan sand dunes of the north polar region of Mars. Barchan dunes are simple, rounded forms with two horns that extend downwind. Inequalities in local wind patterns may result in one horn being extended farther than the other, as is the case for several dunes in this image. The image also shows several barchans may merge to form a long dune ridge. The horns and attendant slip faces on these dunes indicate wind transport of sand from the upper left toward the lower right. The image is located near 77.6°N, 103.6°W. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide; sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower 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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