Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
On the Edge: The Retreating Mars Polar Ice Cap
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-116, 11 April 1999
April 1999---It is summer now in the northern hemisphere of Mars, and the
north polar ice cap has retreated considerably since it was last viewed in
detail by the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera in September 1998 (see
1998 Polar List).
This new, high-resolution view shows the edge of
the retreating polar cap as a bright, wind-streaked surface seen at the lower
left. The ridges and tiny buttes and pits in the upper and right portions
of the picture are part of the polar cap's layered deposits--stacks of dust
and ice built up over the millennia. The picture covers an area 2.6 kilometers
(1.6 miles) wide and is illuminated from the upper 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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