PIA04588: Defrosting Sand Dunes
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: 540 x 810 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Malin Space Science Systems
Full-Res TIFF: PIA04588.tif (433.8 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA04588.jpg (69.73 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-399, 22 June 2003

When spring comes to the southern hemisphere of Mars, dark spots begin to form on sand dunes covered with carbon dioxide frost. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a dune field near 61.8S, 160.5W in early spring. The processes that form the dark spots remain mysterious. The spots might form at the locations of the thinnest frost, the coarsest sand grains, or at interfaces between two different types of material surfaces (e.g., between dune and surrounding plain). The area shown here is illuminated from the upper left and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Image Addition Date:
2003-06-23