NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft captured this image in July 2003, showing fine-scale layered deposits in both N/S polar regions. At the south pole, alternating light and dark bands represent varying amounts of dust or sand mixed in with carbon dioxide ice.


Released 17 July 2003

Similar to ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica, Mars also has fine-scale layered deposits in both the north and south polar regions. In this image from the south pole, alternating light and dark bands represent varying amounts of dust or sand mixed in with carbon dioxide ice. These layers are related in part to climate cycles caused by variations in the tilt of Mars' rotational axis, as well as other orbital variations that occur on geologic time scales (tens of thousands of years).

Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -80.1, Longitude 260.4 East (99.6 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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