PIA25505: Cliffs of Ice
 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 ESP_074914_1225
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA25505.tif (15.56 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA25505.jpg (1.189 MB)

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The mid-latitudes of Mars are mostly covered with smooth material that scientists have suspected to be ice for some time. The ground is uniform and dusty and does not reveal many clues about what lies beneath the surface.

However, sometimes a feature like a cliff cuts through the terrain and gives us a glimpse of this buried icy material. The cliff in this image is one example out of a few dozen that are known.

The bright material on the cliff face is icy and is preserved only because the cliff points away from the equator, so it is shaded most of the time. Faint bands on the cliff might indicate layers in the ice that record different climate conditions. We do not know how much time this ice took to accumulate here, but studies elsewhere on Mars indicate that material like this is sometimes at least tens of millions of years old.

The map is projected here at a scale of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 25.1 centimeters [9.9 inches] per pixel [with 1 x 1 binning]; objects on the order of 75 centimeters [29.5 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_074980_1225.

The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, 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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