The snows of Mars

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 2.40.32 PM.pngJust 20 km southwest of the North Pole on Mars. Like a layered chiffon cake, carbon dioxide and water ice cover the surface in textured subtlety.

The Poles of Mars are covered in stacked layers of ice that subtly shift in extent and composition throughout the year.  During winter, temperatures plummet below -125C and carbon dioxide begins to sublimate, creating a thinner additional layer a couple of metres thick on top of the water ice.  Winter also brings carbon dioxide clouds, which can obscure the polar features below.  During summer, the pole is permanently covered by thick layers of water ice.

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 2.40.11 PM.pngAll images acquired in natural light by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC)

 

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