The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) continues to provide a stunning array of images that show the red planet to have a very diverse collection of surface textures and properties. This picture shows a 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) by 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles) portion of the floor of Melas Chasma. Dark sand dunes spaced 55 to 60 meters (~190 feet) apart dominate the floor of this portion of the Valles Marineris canyon system. Smaller ripples are also visible in the troughs between some of the dunes, perhaps indicating a modern, dynamic eolian (i.e., wind-swept) environment. Illumination is from the upper left.
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.