An image showing Mars as a stunning “winter wonderland” from space

A newly released image of Mars shows a frozen landscape, with ribbons of red and white dancing across the frosty landscape near the planet’s south pole, a Spaces report says.


While the snowy scene might evoke the feeling of a “winter wonderland” on the Red Planet, it was actually captured by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, meaning the frozen image actually represents spring in the southern hemisphere of Mars and icy ice. Mars is waning.

And just six days before a large part of the Earth celebrates the New Year, on December 26, the Red Planet will begin its new year, which will last 687 Earth days.

And the planet has four seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn, and just like on Earth, the winter on the Red Planet is cold and the summer is hot, although the winter is colder than our season, as temperatures on Mars drop to minus 76 degrees. F. (minus 60 degrees Celsius).

The Christmas period is also special for Mars Express, and Christmas Day 2022 marks the 19th anniversary of the spacecraft’s arrival to Mars.

Perhaps the most surprising features in the newly released image are two massive shock outbursts, which are associated with alternating layers of water ice and deposits called “polar layer sediments”. These deposits can also be seen in the hills extending between the two craters.

When the ice dries, many higher elevation areas appear frost-free, and throughout the image, dark sand dunes streak across surface frost in other areas.

The dune fields also appear as sharp ridges, parallel to the direction of the prevailing winds and consistent with the shape of the main features.

Scientists believe that the dust that fills these dark sand dunes is because it comes from buried material from volcanoes that erupted in ancient Mars history and was eventually exposed to strong Martian winds that easily carried it to the surface of the Red Planet.

Other dark spots in the image represent this dust and the action of jets that blast off the frozen surface when underlying carbon dioxide ice turns directly into a gas, a process called sublimation. These jets throw fountains of dust into the Martian atmosphere, which then settle. in dark spots on the surface of the planet.

However, these are not the only elements in the image generated by sublimation. The polar region is dotted with a series of large, irregular features caused by ice sublimation. These look like hollow lakes carved into the surface of Mars, with a clear example of this shown in the upper left corner of the image.

Observing these features from orbit means scientists can observe the processes that are shaping the Martian surface and changing the appearance of the polar regions.

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