In one of its recent posts, NASA revealed that the Red Planet could to have a wintery feel. Namely, the aerospace agency released images of snowy dunes of Mars, as snow and ice covered its surface formations.
According to the post through which NASA published the pictures, these images were taken on May 21, 2017. At the time, it was spring in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped the photos with its HiRISE or High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.
Snowy Dunes on Mars, Also Predicted by an Experiment
In the image description, NASA explains that snow and ice “inexorably” covered the dunes during the winter time. It also points out that the ice and snow on Mars are quite different from those here on Earth.
Instead of being frozen water, these are based on carbon dioxide, or as it is more commonly known, dry ice.
According to the report, the ‘smooth’ surface of the snowy dunes starts cracking as the sun starts shining on them come springtime. As the dunes crack, this also reportedly releases gas which carries dark sand from the dunes down below. This states NASA, “often creates beautiful patterns”.
However, some of the frost remains trapped behind small and sheltered ridges on the rough surface among the dunes.
A team of scientists also released a new study in which it presents the results of its new simulations. These explore the effects of the ‘flip-flopping’ layers in the atmosphere on Mars. According to the simulations, these combine in a more ‘vigorous’ manner than expected, which produces stormy weather.
In turn, this can also lead to a dusting of snow settling on the dunes of Mars. These snowfalls were seemingly quite insubstantial, some of them not even reaching the surface, and can happen in bursts during the summertime.
Details on the study and its results can be accessed in a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Image Source: JPL/NASA
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