Icy Northern Dunes
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Icy Northern Dunes
ESP_017043_2640  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
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Like Earth, Mars has seasonal polar caps that grow in the winter and retreat in the spring, but on Mars the seasonal caps are composed primarily of carbon dioxide (dry ice). Carbon dioxide is the major component of the Martian atmosphere, and a significant fraction of the mass of the atmosphere is cycled through the seasonal caps every year.

This image shows sand dunes that are mostly covered by seasonal frost/ice in the northern spring. When the springtime sun shines on the ice, some of it penetrates to the base of the ice and warms the dark sand dune surface below. The warm sand evaporates the carbon dioxide ice from below, building gas pressure that apparently breaks the ice and carries sand to the surface as the pressure is released. The sand then cascades down the surface of the ice, forming the streaks seen in this image.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff   (5 May 2010)

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Acquisition date
16 March 2010

Local Mars time:
13:52

Latitude (centered)
83.711°

Longitude (East)
235.731°

Range to target site
320.3 km (200.2 miles)

Original image scale range
64.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~192 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection
Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
7.7°

Phase angle:
56.2°

Solar incidence angle
62°, with the Sun about 28° above the horizon

Solar longitude
64.8°, Northern Spring

North azimuth:
110°

Sub-solar azimuth:
318.3°
JPEG
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

JP2
Black and white
map-projected   (290MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (149MB)

JP2 EXTRAS
Black and white
map-projected  (136MB)
non-map           (108MB)

IRB color
map projected  (44MB)
non-map           (113MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (261MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (232MB)

RGB color
non map           (99MB)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

USAGE POLICY
All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona



Postscript
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.