PIA08069: Frosty 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:  836 x 1734 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Producer ID:  MOC2-1430
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA08069.tif (1.451 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA08069.jpg (264.6 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:

12 April 2006
Today, the MOC Team celebrates the 45th anniversary of the first human flight into space, that of Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961, and the 25th anniversary of the first NASA Space Shuttle flight on 12 April 1981, by briefly pondering the wonders of our Solar System and the opportunities of the age in which we live. Although humans have not ventured to the Moon in more than 30 years, and have not yet gone to Mars, we can all go there through the eyes of our robotic explorers.

Mars, perhaps the most Earth-like (yet so very different!) planet in our star's system, is tilted on its axis by about 25-not all that different than Earth's ~23.5. Thus, Mars, like Earth, experiences a changing of seasons as the planet revolves around the Sun. At high latitudes in each hemisphere during autumn and winter, carbon dioxide frost accumulates on the surface.

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dunes covered and delineated by seasonal frost in the north polar region of Mars. The winds responsible for the formation of these dunes blew primarily from the northwest (upper left), with additional influences from the north and northeast. During the late spring and summer seasons, these dunes would look much darker than their surroundings, but in this late winter image, the dunes and the plains on which they occur are all covered with carbon dioxide frost.

Location near: 78.4N, 76.7W
Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)
Illumination from: lower left
Season: Northern Winter

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Image Addition Date:
2006-04-12