Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

The Martian North Polar Cap in Summer

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-231, 22 May 2000


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This is a wide angle view of the martian north polar cap as it appeared to the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) in early northern summer. The picture was acquired on March 13, 1999, near the start of the Mapping Phase of the MGS mission. The light-toned surfaces are residual water ice that remains through the summer season. The nearly circular band of dark material surrounding the cap consists mainly of sand dunes formed and shaped by wind. The north polar cap is roughly 1100 kilometers (680 miles) across.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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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