April 1999 -- It is summer now in the northern hemisphere of Mars, and the north polar ice cap has retreated considerably since it was last viewed in detail by the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera in September 1998 (see 1998 Polar List). This new, high-resolution view shows the edge of the retreating polar cap as a bright, wind-streaked surface seen at the lower left. The ridges and tiny buttes and pits in the upper and right portions of the picture are part of the polar cap's layered deposits--stacks of dust and ice built up over the millennia. The picture covers an area 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) wide and is illuminated from the upper right.
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.