Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

South Polar Terrain

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-798, 25 July 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows layers broken-up by processes that form nearly square polygonal cracks and textures in the south polar region of Mars. Exactly how the polygons formed is anyone's guess; typically, polygon patterns in the martian polar regions are taken to indicate the presence of ground ice, similar to polygons in the Earth's arctic and antarctic regions. This picture is located near 86.4°S, 180.3°W, and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. The image covers an area about 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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