NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This picture is a composite of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) daily global images acquired at Ls 145° during a previous Mars year. This month, Mars looks similar, as Ls 145° occurred in mid-January 2005.
This picture shows the Syrtis Major face of Mars. Over the course of the month, additional faces of Mars as it appears at this time of year are being posted for MOC Picture of the Day.
Ls, solar longitude, is a measure of the time of year on Mars. Mars travels 360° around the Sun in 1 Mars year. The year begins at Ls 0°--the start of northern spring and southern autumn. In January 2005, it is northern summer and southern winter. The seasons on Mars occur according to Ls, described in the following table:
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.