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These dark sand dunes in the North polar region, basking in the sunshine of late spring, have shed most of their seasonal layer of winter ice.
A few bright ice deposits remain sequestered in "cold traps" shadowed from the sun on the poleward-facing side of the dunes. Some bright patches of ice at the foot of the sunlit side of the dunes may be places where ice slumped to the foot of the dune creating a longer-lasting snow bank.
HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's 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 in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.
Originally released March 28, 2012