The most powerful camera ever sent to another planet has captured a touching picture of a bizarre spring phenomenon on Mars. At this time of year, the surface of the Red Planet is covered with dramatic bright fans of dry ice, bursting out from under the surface in the polar regions.
This patterned alien landscape was captured using a high-resolution camera (HiRISE) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The unusual relief is formed by ice frozen into the ground at high latitudes of the planet. At the beginning of spring, when ice directly turns from solid to gaseous (sublimation), it breaks out from under the surface, from which the surface “explodes”, forming blue patterns against the background of cracks.
The HiRISE image showed precipitation from these icy explosions carried by winds in different directions. When the ice particles fall off, they leave these characteristic fan-shaped blue patterns on the terrain. Some holes create several different bands showing the wind direction at different times.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter first arrived at Mars in 2006 and, thanks to HiRISE, took many stunning images of these polygonal polar regions of Mars. In addition, the improved camera took pictures of other strange Martian objects and even NASA rovers on the surface of the planet.
Earlier, Perseverance witnessed a swarm of “dust devils”.
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