MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR Image of the Week October 17, 2006

Image of the Week
October 17, 2006

The following new image taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on
the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft is now available:

o Frost-free North Polar Layers in the Good Old Summertime
(Released 17 October 2006)

Image Caption:

The middle portion of the northern summer season is the ideal
time of year to capture relatively dust- and haze-free views of
martian north polar terrain. This year, much more of the north
polar cap has sublimed away than has been evident in previous
northern summers going back to 1999, when Mars Global Surveyor
(MGS) began the Mapping Phase of the mission. This MGS Mars
Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a nearly ice-free view of
layers exposed by erosion in the north polar region. The
light-toned patches are remnants of water ice frost. The
layers are generally considered by the Mars scientific
community to be record of past depositions of ice and dust.
This picture is located near 82.5N, 118.6W, and covers an area
about 3 km by 10 km (1.9 by 6.2 miles). Sunlight illuminates
the scene from the upper left; the image was acquired on 22
September 2006.

All of the Mars Global Surveyor images are archived here:

Mars Global Surveyor was launched in November 1996 and has been
in Mars orbit since September 1997. It began its primary
mapping mission on March 8, 1999. Mars Global Surveyor is the
first mission in a long-term program of Mars exploration known as
the Mars Surveyor Program that is managed by JPL for NASA’s Office
of Space Science, Washington, DC. Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS)
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.