NASA images showcase the spooky beauty of winter on Mars

NASA images showcase the spooky beauty of winter on Mars
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Mars may seem like a dry, desolate place, but the red planet turns into an otherworldly wonderland in winter, according to a study. New video shared by NASA.

Late winter in Mars’ Northern Hemisphere. Perseverance navigator and Creativity helicopter They discover an ancient river delta that once fed Crater Lake billions of years ago.

As the main feature of the planet, dust also affects Martian weather. Dust often heralds the arrival of winter, but the planet is no stranger to snow, ice and frost. At the Martian poles, temperatures can drop as low as minus 190 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 123 degrees Celsius).

There are two types of snow on Mars. One is made of frozen water, the kind we experience on Earth. Thin Martian air and sub-zero temperatures mean that traditional snow sublimates or transitions directly from a solid to a gas before touching the ground on Mars.

Partial carbon dioxide frost, or dry ice, can be seen inside a crater in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars during the winter months.

The other type of Martian snow is carbon dioxide-based or dry ice and can land on the surface. A few feet of snow tends to fall on the flat regions of Mars near the poles.

“As many waterfalls as you can snowshoe through,” said Sylvain Piqueux, a Mars scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA version. “If you still want to ski, you’ll need to go to a crater or cliff edge where snow can accumulate on a sloping surface.”

So far, no orbiter or rover see this It snows on the red planet because weathering only occurs at night at the poles under cloud cover. Orbiting cameras cannot peer through the clouds, and no robotic explorers have been developed that can withstand the freezing temperatures at the poles.

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However, the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can detect light that the human eye cannot see. He made the detection of carbon dioxide snow falling on the poles of Mars. This phoenix quad bike, which came On Mars in 2008, it used one of its laser instruments to detect water-ice snow from its point about 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) from Mars’ north pole.

Thanks to photographers, we know that snowflakes on Earth are unique and six-sided. Under the microscope, Martian snowflakes will likely look a little different.

“Since the symmetry of carbon dioxide ice is four, we know that dry ice snowflakes will be cube-shaped,” Piqueux said. Said. “Thanks to the Mars Climate Siren, we can tell that these snowflakes will be smaller than the width of a human hair.”

Melting frost formed unique patterns in the Martian dunes in the spring in July 2021.

Ice and carbon dioxide-based frosts also form on Mars and can occur further away from the poles. The Odyssey orbiter (which entered Mars orbit in 2001) watched frost form and turn into a gas in sunlight, while Viking landers detected icy frost on Mars when they arrived in the 1970s.

At the end of winter, the ice accumulated during the season can thaw and turn into gas, creating unique shapes that remind NASA scientists of Swiss cheese, Dalmatian spots, fried eggs, spiders, and other unusual formations.

During Winter at Crater Lakerecent high temperatures have been about 8 F (minus 13 C), while low temperatures have been about minus 120 F (minus 84 C).

Meanwhile, and Gale Crater in the Southern Hemisphere Near the Martian equator, the Curiosity rover that landed on Mars in 2012 is 5 F (minus 15 C) high and minus 105 F (minus 76 C).

Seasons on Mars tend to be longer because the planet’s oval-shaped orbit around the sun means that a single Martian year is 687 days, or about two Earth years.

Ice frozen in the ground left polygonal patterns on the Martian surface.

NASA scientists celebrate Mars new year coinciding with the 26th of December arrival of the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Scientists count Martian years starting from the planet’s northern spring equinox, which occurred in 1955—an arbitrary point to start with, but it’s good to have a system.” NASA Mars Facebook page. “Numbering Martian years helps scientists keep track of long-term observations, such as weather data collected by NASA spacecraft over decades.”

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