Icy Spiders

  Near Mars’ polar regions, spidery cracks and crevasses in the surface hold the last remnants of the winter season’s carbon dioxide frost – a.k.a. “dry ice” – which will eventually evaporate into the Martian atmosphere as CO2 gas. This process is seen on Earth only in specialized manmade situations such as when used as…

The Valley So High

This beautiful landscape scene may be reminiscent of sandy deserts on Earth but it’s actually a valley slicing into the frozen ice of Mars’ north pole as seen by NASA’s Mars Odyssey, soon to become the longest-operating spacecraft on or around the red planet. The image above was created from several images taken by Odyssey’s…

Dark Dunes

  Dark-colored sand dunes mark the terrain on Chasma Boreale, a trough that cuts into the north polar ice fields of Mars. These are known as barchan dunes…like their counterparts on Earth, they have steep edges with “horns” that point in the direction of the wind. The dune material could either be dark sand or…