Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars' northern polar regions in transition

Date:
August 5, 2011
Source:
European Space Agency (ESA)
Summary:
A newly released image from the European Space Agency's Mars Express shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet’s summer solstice. All the carbon dioxide ice has gone, leaving just a bright cap of water ice.

This image was acquired by the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera on 17 May 2010 and shows a part of the northern polar region of Mars at the northern hemisphere summer solstice.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

A newly released image from ESA's Mars Express shows the north pole of Mars during the red planet's summer solstice. All the carbon dioxide ice has gone, leaving just a bright cap of water ice.

Related Articles


This image was captured by the orbiter's High-Resolution Stereo Camera on 17 May 2010 and shows part of the northern polar region of Mars during the summer solstice. The solstice is the longest day and the beginning of the summer for the planet's northern hemisphere.

The ice shield is covered by frozen water and carbon dioxide ice in winter and spring but by this point in the martian year all of the carbon dioxide ice has warmed and evaporated into the planet's atmosphere.

Only water ice is left behind, which shows up as bright white areas in this picture. From these layers, large bursts of water vapour are occasionally released into the atmosphere.

The polar ice follows the seasons. In winter, part of the atmosphere recondenses as frost and snow on the northern cap. These seasonal deposits can extend as far south as 45N latitude and be up to a metre thick.

Another phenomenon occurs on the curved scarps of the northern polar cap, such as the Rupes Tenuis slope (on the left of this image). During spring, the seasonal carbon dioxide layer is covered by water frost. At certain times, winds remove the the millimetre-thick top layer of frozen water, revealing the carbon dioxide ice below.

These processes bear witness to a dynamic water cycle on Mars and may lead to the varying accumulation of water ice over the polar cap.

Other noticeable features in this image include the Chasma Boreale canyon, coloured deposits and a large dune field.

Chasma Boreale is about 2 km deep, 580 km long and about 100 km wide. Its walls allow a perfect view into the strata within the deposits. There are impact craters on the canyon floor, some heavily covered by sand and some partly exhumed.

Dark and light-toned deposits can be seen as a fine and regular covering. The darker sediments have been dropped by the winds during spring dust storms. The patterns are created when the deposits change in quantity according to the seasons.

The polar cap is surrounded by a large dune field, parts of which extend 600 km to the south.

Mars Express will soon be using its radar to probe the northern polar cap in three dimensions. Since the radar antenna was deployed in mid-2005, the team have been waiting for the right conditions to observe the region.

The radar works best at night when the electrical interference from the planet's atmosphere is at a minimum. An excellent opportunity to observe the cap's shape, depth and composition occurs in August and September 2011.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency (ESA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency (ESA). "Mars' northern polar regions in transition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805082955.htm>.
European Space Agency (ESA). (2011, August 5). Mars' northern polar regions in transition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805082955.htm
European Space Agency (ESA). "Mars' northern polar regions in transition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805082955.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Multi-National Crew Safely Docks at Space Station

Multi-National Crew Safely Docks at Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz rocket delivers a multi-national trio to the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins