The Answer is Blowing in the Wind
The Answer is Blowing in the Wind
ESP_011934_0945  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
Every winter, Mars' polar region is covered with a layer of seasonal carbon dioxide ice (dry ice). In the spring jets of gas carry dust from the ground up through openings in the ice. The dust gets carried downwind by the prevailing wind and falls on top of the seasonal ice layer in a fan-shaped deposit.

Many jets appear to be active at the same time since numerous fans are all deposited in the same direction: this image is an example of such an occurrence. At the top of this image the fans are oriented in one direction while at the bottom they are going in a different direction. This suggests that as the ice layer thins, a set of gas jets becomes active, they die down, then further away another set starts up at a later time with a different prevailing wind direction.

Written by: Candy Hansen  (25 March 2009)
Acquisition date
11 February 2009

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
247.0 km (153.5 miles)

Original image scale range
49.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~148 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
79°, with the Sun about 11° above the horizon

Solar longitude
207.9°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  126°
Sub-solar azimuth:  31.7°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.