Layered Ice Near the South Pole of Mars
Layered Ice Near the South Pole of Mars
ESP_023616_1005  Science Theme: Polar Geology
The two largest ice sheets in the inner solar system are here on Earth, Antarctica and Greenland. The third largest is at the South Pole of Mars and a small part of it is shown here.

Much like the terrestrial examples, this ice sheet is layered and scientists refer to it as the South Polar layered deposits. The ice layers contain information about past climates on Mars and deciphering this record has been a major goal of Mars science for decades. This slope, near the ice sheet’s edge, shows the internal layers that have this climate record.

With stereo images, we can tell the heights of these layers so we can measure their thickness and try to unravel the climatic information they contain. (Be sure to view the digital terrain model for this observation.)

Written by: Shane Byrne (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (11 December 2017)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024025_1005.
Acquisition date
10 August 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
248.1 km (154.2 miles)

Original image scale range
25.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~75 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
76°, with the Sun about 14° above the horizon

Solar longitude
342.6°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  109°
Sub-solar azimuth:  55.1°
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

Black and white
map-projected   (1175MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (580MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (428MB)
non-map           (806MB)

IRB color
map projected  (139MB)
non-map           (582MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (273MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (278MB)

RGB color
non map           (565MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

DTM details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

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

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

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.