Color Reveals Translucent Seasonal Ice
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Color Reveals Translucent Seasonal Ice
PSP_002942_0935  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
This caption is part of a December 2007 AGU presentation "Spring at the South Pole of Mars."

In a region near the south pole of Mars translucent carbon dioxide ice covers the ground seasonally. For the first time we can "see" the translucent ice by the effect it has on the appearance of the surface below.

Dark fans of dust from the surface drape over the top of the seasonal ice. The surface would be the same color as the dust except that the seasonal ice affecting its appearance. Bright bluish streaks are frost that has re-crystallized from the atmosphere.

Sunlight can penetrate through the seasonal layer of translucent ice to warm the ground below. That causes the seasonal ice layer to sublime (evaporate) from the bottom rather than the top.

Written by: Candy Hansen   (18 December 2007)

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Acquisition date
13 March 2007

Local Mars time:
18:41

Latitude (centered)
-86.397°

Longitude (East)
99.150°

Range to target site
245.4 km (153.4 miles)

Original image scale range
49.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~147 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection
Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
2.3°

Phase angle:
84.4°

Solar incidence angle
82°, with the Sun about 8° above the horizon

Solar longitude
199.6°, Northern Autumn

North azimuth:
135°

Sub-solar azimuth:
33.7°
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HiView

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

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.