MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-132, 3 June 1999
The dunes in this picture taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) are located on the floor of an old, 72 km-(45 mi)-diameter crater located northeast of Syrtis Major. The sand is being blown from the upper right toward the lower left. The surface that the dunes have been travelling across is pitted and cratered. The substrate is also hard and bright---i.e., it is composed of a material of different composition than the sand in the dunes. The dark streaks on the dune surfaces are a puzzle...at first glance one might conclude they are the result of holiday visitors with off-road vehicles. However, the streaks more likely result from passing dust devils or wind gusts that disturb the sand surface just enough to leave a streak. The image shown here covers an area approximately 2.6 km (1.6 mi) wide, and is illuminated from the lower right.
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, CA. 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, CA and Denver, CO.
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