NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
The north polar cap of Mars is nearly surrounded by fields of dark, windblown sand dunes. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an example located near 73.5°N, 75.0°W. The orientation of these dunes indicate that the dominant winds--particularly those that occur during storms--come from the upper left (northwest). The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across, and is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left.
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.