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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Defrosting Spots

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1239, 3 October 2005

Medium-sized view of MGS MOC Picture of the Day, updated daily
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark, defrosting spots formed on a polygon-cracked plain in the south polar region of Mars. The surface was covered with carbon dioxide frost during the previous winter. In spring, the material begins to sublime away, creating a pattern of dark spots that sometimes have wind streaks emanating from them, as wind carries away or erodes the frost.
Location near: 85.1°S, 286.2°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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