PIA02897: North Polar Cap Layers and Frost on the First Day of Summer
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter
 Instrument:  Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
 Product Size:  2003 x 601 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Producer ID:  MOC2-266A
 Primary Data Set:  MGS EDRs
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA02897.tif (886.7 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA02897.jpg (209.9 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

A. PIA02897

86.5N, 324.0W --- 16 December 2000 --- illuminated from lower left 10 km (6.2 mi) wide by 3 km (1.9 mi) high
B. PIA02898

85.7N, 307.9W --- 2 December 2000 --- illuminated from upper left 2 km (1.2 mi) wide by 0.9 km (0.6 mi) high
C. PIA02899

87.0N, 263.8W --- 12 December 2000 --- illuminated from upper left 10 km (6.2 mi) wide by 3 km (1.9 mi) high

On Mars, Northern Hemisphere Summer (and Southern Hemisphere Winter) began on December 16, 2000. In this December holiday season, many children across the U.S. and elsewhere are perhaps anticipating an annual visit from a generous and jolly red-suited soul from the Earth's North Pole. As the December holidays were approaching, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) was busy acquiring new views of the region around the martian north pole. The three best views obtained this month are shown here. The top (A) and bottom (C) views show many layers exposed and eroded into the form of ridges and troughs on shallow slopes within the martian north polar cap. The middle (B) view is a picture of the rugged, eroded polar ice cap surface itself. The layers are believed to have formed over tens to hundreds of thousands of years by deposition of dust and ice each cold martian winter. These surfaces today all appear to have been eroded. The brightest material in each image is frost--temperatures at this time of year indicate that the frost is composed of frozen water. In winter, temperatures can be cold enough to freeze carbon dioxide, as well.

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