Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Defrosting Sand

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1202, 2 September 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a patch of frost-covered, dark sand that, at the time the picture was acquired in June 2005, had begun to defrost. The frost is carbon dioxide. Dunes and other patches of sand are usually the first polar features to develop dark spots as the frost begins to sublime away.
Location near: 78.9°S, 80.2°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: upper left
Season: Southern Spring

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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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