In the winter a layer of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice) covers the north polar sand dunes as shown by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In the spring the sublimation of the ice (going directly from ice to gas) causes a host of uniquely Martian phenomena.
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A Burst of Spring

In the winter a layer of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice) covers the north polar sand dunes. In the spring the sublimation of the ice (going directly from ice to gas) causes a host of uniquely Martian phenomena.

In this subimage streaks of dark basaltic sand have been carried from below the ice layer to form fan-shaped deposits on top of the seasonal ice. The similarity in the directions of the fans suggests that they formed at the same time, when the wind direction and speed was the same. They often form along the boundary between the dune and the surface below the dunes.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the spacecraft development and integration contractor for the project and built the spacecraft.

Image details

ID#:
PIA12957

Date added:
2010-03-10

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Spacecraft:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Instruments:
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Rating:



Views:
4,121

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA12957.tif (14.76 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA12957.jpg (0.86 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona