Morning Frost on Mars
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- Four images of Martian frost: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU
- Dark “slope streaks” on Mars captured by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
- “Slope streaks” on Mars captured by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Education review: Jim Manning
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Colorful photos of galaxies, planets, and nebulas. Text, News from the Universe. Four panels of photos of a planet surface with glossy craters and valleys. Text, May 25, 2022. Morning frost on Mars. Text, bluish-white carbon dioxide frost is illuminated by the rising Sun in these images of the Martian surface from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.
Odyssey's infrared instrument shows that the frost is actually more widespread than what shows up in visible light.
Astronomers think they are seeing dirty frost, frost mixed with fine grains of dust that obscure it in visible light but not in infrared images. NASA's mars reconnaissance orbiter. A branching darkness resembling tree branches rests amid a barren brown landscape. Text, the dirty frost may also explain the dark streaks that can stretch 3,300 feet down Martian slopes, often in places that have morning frost.
Text, the vaporizing frost may create enough pressure to loosen the dust grains, causing an avalanche. As the dust travels downhill, it exposes darker material underneaths. Dark pointy, horizontal streaks inhabit beige ground. We don't have anything exactly like a slope streak on Earth. You have to think beyond your experiences on Earth to understand Mars, said astronomer Chris Edwards.
This news was brought to you in part by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.