PIA02391: High-Resolution South Polar Cap Mosaics
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
Spacecraft: Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter
Instrument: Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
Product Size: 2493 x 972 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Malin Space Science Systems
Producer ID: MOC2-223B
Addition Date: 2000-04-11
Primary Data Set: MGS EDRs
Full-Res TIFF: PIA02391.tif (1.84 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA02391.jpg (284.7 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

The layered terrains of the polar regions of Mars are among the most exotic planetary landscapes in our Solar System. The layers exposed in the south polar residual cap, vividly shown in the top view, are thought to contain detailed records of Mars' climate history over the last 100 million years or so. The materials that comprise the south polar layers may include frozen carbon dioxide, water ice, and fine dust. The bottom picture shows complex erosional patterns that have developed on the south polar cap, perhaps by a combination of sublimation, wind erosion, and ground-collapse. Because the south polar terrains are so strange and new to human eyes, no one (yet) has entirely adequate explanations as to what is being seen.

These images were acquired by the Mars Orbiter Camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft during the southern spring season in October 1999. Each of these two pictures is a mosaic of many individual MOC images acquired at about 12 m/pixel scale that completely cover the highest latitude (87S) visible to MOC on each orbital pass over the polar region. Both mosaics cover areas of about 10 x 4 kilometers (6.2 x 2.5 miles) near 87S, 10W in the central region of the permanent--or residual--south polar cap. They show features at the scale of a small house. Sunlight illuminates each scene from the left."Gaps" at the upper and lower right of the second mosaic, above, are areas that were not covered by MOC in October 1999.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems/USGS Flagstaff

Image Addition Date:
2000-04-11