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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Electric Polygons

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-1523, 14 July 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 frost-enhanced polygonal features on the martian northern plains. A week or two before this springtime image was acquired, the entire surface was covered by carbon dioxide frost. As spring advances, the north polar seasonal frost cap edge retreats. It retreated through the area shown here, leaving only remnants of frost in the cracks and troughs that bound polar polygonal features. Within a few weeks of acquisition of this image, the scene would have been completely frost-free.
Location near: 68.5°N, 191.8°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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