This image is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.
Some of the surface of the residual south polar cap has a pattern that resembles that of sliced, swiss cheese. Shown here at the very start of southern spring is a frost-covered surface in which there are two layers evident--a brighter upper layer into which are set swiss cheese-like holes, and a darker, lower layer that lies beneath the "swiss cheese" pattern. Nothing like this exists anywhere on Mars except within the south polar cap.
This is a Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image acquired on August 2, 1999. It is located near 84.8°S, 71.8°W, and covers an area 3 km across and about 6.1 km long (1.9 by 3.8 miles).
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.