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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera


MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1482, 3 June 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 dunes covered with a seasonally-deposited layer of solid carbon dioxide (CO2) in the north polar region of Mars. The dark spots indicate areas where the CO2 frost has begun to change, either by being sublimed away, or by becoming rougher or coarser-grained, such that it appears darker than surrounding frost. Over the course of the spring season, the frost will be completely removed and the dark sands that make up the dune field will be visible by summer.
Location near: 77.7°N, 41.7°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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