PIA17548: Fall Frosting
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Instrument: HiRISE
Product Size: 2880 x 1800 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: University of Arizona/HiRise-LPL
Other Information: Other products from image ESP_033371_1080
Full-Res TIFF: PIA17548.tif (15.56 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA17548.jpg (887.8 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

Richardson Crater is home to this sea of sand dunes. It was fall in the Southern hemisphere when this image was acquired and the dunes are frosted with the first bit of carbon dioxide ice condensed from the atmosphere.

As the season turns to winter ice will cover the entire dune field. At this moment however, it is patchy, and in the frost does not yet coat the ground beneath the dunes. The ground under the dunes appears to be cut by spidery troughs termed "araneiform terrain", carved by carbon dioxide sublimation (turning from solid to gas) in the spring.

Though Mars may appear to be a frozen wonderland it is not frozen in time: the spring will bring lots of activity to this region.

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.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Image Addition Date:
2013-10-16