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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Northern Impact

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1406, 19 March 2006

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 a partially-buried crater in the north polar region of Mars. The circular feature is surrounded and partly overlain by some of the many, many sand dunes in the area. The steepest slopes on each dune—their slip faces—face toward the southeast (lower right), indicating that the dominant winds responsible for sand transport in this region come from the northwest (upper left). In summer, the dunes in this scene would be darker than their surroundings, but in this northern springtime image, the dunes and everything else in the area are covered by carbon dioxide frost. The frost is left over from the winter which ended in January 2006.
Location near: 76.0°N, 82.2°W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern 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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