Echoes in the Ice

Echoes in the Ice

Sent by: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter & Mars Odyssey | From: Mars | Released: Aug 14, 2008 | Credits: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Rome/University of Washington St. Louis/MSSS | Image source

Radar reveals details inside the mile-thick mountain of ice at the north pole of Mars. The top view shows the topography of the ice cap, which grows and shrinks each season, adding a new layer of dust and ice each time.

The middle section contains a radar view from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with alternating bright and dark layers of dust and ice extending back into the far past of the Red Planet. Beneath the ice are additional, more opaque layers that may tell the tale of a time when Mars’ climate was different.

The bottom section is a true-color visual look at roughly the same region, taken earlier by a different spacecraft, the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

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Blast Zone

Blast Zone

Sent by: Mars Odyssey | From: Mars | Released: Aug 13, 2008 | Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU | Image source

This mark in the Tharsis region of Mars is thought to be the result of a shock wave from a meteor that disintegrated before impacting the planet. The blast wave blew away the red dust on the surface to reveal the darker volcanic rock underneath. The affected area is roughly nine kilometers across.

Polar Wind

Polar Wind

Sent by: Mars Odyssey | From: Mars | Released: July 31, 2008 | Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU | Image source

Winds blowing from the north pole of Mars encounter a trough in the ice cap, forming clouds. Another cool shot from the old reliable workhorse of the Red Planet, the Odyssey orbiter.