Mars is the planet that most resembles the Earth with a number of characteristics familiar to us. So, for example, the change of local seasons occurs similarly to the earthly ones, although their duration exceeds our times by about 2 times. Images recently taken by the Mars Express orbiter show bright ice spots and deep dark depressions at the north pole of Mars. Their detection indicates the presence of strong winds and storms in the region when a winter period is established on the red planet. The layers of ice covering the area at this time begin to experience strong changes in its composition and extent, which Mars Express was able to capture during its new mission.
What does the polar caps of Mars look like?
The extreme climate of Mars, which is responsible for the presence of thick layers of water ice on the fourth planet from the Sun, is also responsible for the occurrence of a layer of frozen carbon dioxide on the polar caps of the planet, which falls out of a rarefied Martian atmosphere on top of our usual ice, sciencealert.com reports. Extremely low atmospheric density, coupled with a relative distance from the Sun, in winter provides an average temperature of -143 ° C (-225 ° F), which is several times lower than modern Antarctic parameters. Using a powerful full-color HRSC camera, scientists were able to consider the processes occurring at the north pole of Mars, capturing unique phenomena that are unique to this planet of the solar system.
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Red and brown Martian troughs are part of a larger spiral pattern of troughs that diverge from the center of the North Pole. From above, they look like a zebra pattern. Scientists believe that the so-called katabatic winds, which transfer dense air to lower altitudes, are responsible for creating this unusual picture. On the red planet, they carry cold, dense air from polar glaciers and frozen plateaus down to lower heights, representing valleys and depressions. Due to the constant rotation of the planet, the ice of the north pole of Mars is affected by the Coriolis effect, which creates a spiral pattern emanating from the center of the North pole.
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Layers of ice at the poles of the red planet are of particular interest to scientists, if only because they contain the keys to planetary climate change over millions of years. As the ice melts and freezes, it mixes with dust, gradually settling on the surface of Mars, while simultaneously capturing a whole layer of matter located on the surface of the planet in a given period of time. Researchers argue that the layers of ancient ice at one time could not only witness the humid climate of Mars in ancient times, but also capture the processes that generated the huge volcanoes and craters of the planet that we know.