Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Ganges Chasma Sands

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1146, 8 July 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark, windblown sand in the form of dunes and a broad, relatively flat, sand sheet in Ganges Chasma, part of the eastern Valles Marineris trough complex. The winds responsible for these dunes blew largely from the north. Sand dunes on Mars, unlike their Earthly counterparts, are usually dark in tone. This is a reflection of their composition, which includes minerals that are more rich in iron and magnesium than the common silica-rich dunes of Earth. Similar dark sands on Earth are found in volcanic regions such as Iceland and Hawaii. A large dune field of iron/magnesium-rich grains, in the form fragments of the volcanic rock, basalt, occurs south of Moses Lake, Washington, in the U.S.
Location near: 7.7°S, 45.3°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Southern Spring

Tips for Media Use

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.

To MSSS Home Page