PIA19292: Icy Wonderland
 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 (w x h)
 Produced By:  University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other products from image ESP_039633_0950
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA19292.tif (15.56 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA19292.jpg (906.4 kB)

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Although the season is late spring, carbon dioxide ice still covers much of the surface at this high latitude site. It is still a chilly -128 degrees Celsius.

The weak boundaries of the polygonal structure of the surface have been eroded by spring sublimation of carbon dioxide as energy from the Sun turns ice to gas. The larger troughs in this image accentuate the surface polygonal structure, while the narrow cracks show the erosion caused when carbon dioxide gas escapes from under the seasonal ice layer carrying fine material from the surface.

The dark fans in this image are made up of small particles from the surface deposited on top of the seasonal layer of ice. The fans originate at a crack, a weak spot that allows the gas to escape. The material is deposited in a direction determined by the direction of the wind as the gas was escaping.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, 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 NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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