Defrosting Northern Dunes
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Defrosting Northern Dunes
PSP_007193_2640  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
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In northern winter a seasonal polar cap composed of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice) forms in the north polar region. This cap covers a vast sea of dunes at high northern latitudes. In the spring the ice sublimates (evaporates directly from ice to gas) and this active process loosens and moves tiny dust particles.

The subimage shows a region of the dunes that are just beginning to lose their seasonal ice cover. In most of the image the dunes are a muted red color. Where the sun is shining on the steep dune crests the frost is gone and dark dust is free to cascade down the sides. This thin layer of dust, like slope streaks found elsewhere on Mars, flows down around obstacles and may come to rest mid-slope.

Written by: Candy Hansen   (21 March 2008)

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Acquisition date
07 February 2008

Local Mars time:
12:53

Latitude (centered)
83.964°

Longitude (East)
233.372°

Range to target site
317.2 km (198.3 miles)

Original image scale range
31.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~95 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection
Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
0.7°

Phase angle:
72.8°

Solar incidence angle
72°, with the Sun about 18° above the horizon

Solar longitude
28.8°, Northern Spring

North azimuth:
119°

Sub-solar azimuth:
311.0°
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HiView

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

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