Rapid Changes on the North Polar Cap
The purpose of this sequence of images is to understand rapid albedo (brightness) changes seen at this time of year (late northern summer) on the Martian polar cap.
Our cutout is an animation that is a comparison with an image acquired just 5 days earlier from this one. Changes in relative brightness are apparent between the observations. It is not immediately obvious what is causing the changes, but the linear patterns suggest that wind is playing a role.
The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 63.4 centimeters [25.0 inches] per pixel [with 2 x 2 binning]; objects on the order of 190 centimeters [74.8 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.
The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.