Google Play icon

Mars Needs You! Help Scientists Track Spring Thaw On Red Planet

Share
Posted December 4, 2014

We’ve been watching Mars with spacecraft for about 50 years, but there’s still so little we know about the Red Planet. Take this sequence of images in this post recently taken by a powerful camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Carbon dioxide ice begins to feel the heat in the south pole region every spring. In this image of ‘Inca City’ taken in August 2014, you can see a few fans coming out from channels (araneiforms) that are created when pressurized gas escapes from the melting ice. Picture taken Aug. 6, 2014 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Carbon dioxide ice begins to feel the heat in the south pole region every spring. In this image of ‘Inca City’ taken in August 2014, you can see a few fans coming out from channels (araneiforms) that are created when pressurized gas escapes from the melting ice. Picture taken Aug. 6, 2014 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Spring arrives in the southern hemisphere and produces a bunch of mysteries, such as gray-blue streaks you can see in a picture below.

That’s where citizen scientists can come in, according to a recent post for the University of Arizona’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera that took these pictures. They’re asking people with a little spare time to sign up for Planet Four (a Zooniverse project) to look at mysterious Mars features. With amateurs and professionals working together, maybe we’ll learn more about these strange changes you see below.

On Aug. 20, 2014, Martian dust mounds are on top of the araneiforms in ‘Inca City’, as well as dark areas on the terrain showing where the ice cap in the southern hemisphere burst and sent gas and dust into the surroundings. Fans in the area are pointing in multiple directions, showing how the wind has changed. Image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

On Aug. 20, 2014, Martian dust mounds are on top of the araneiforms in ‘Inca City’, as well as dark areas on the terrain showing where the ice cap in the southern hemisphere burst and sent gas and dust into the surroundings. Fans in the area are pointing in multiple directions, showing how the wind has changed. Image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

On Aug. 25, 2014, more fans and blotches appear on the Martian landscape around “Inca City”, a location in the southern polar region, as the ice bursts in the springtime sun. Image obtained by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

On Aug. 25, 2014, more fans and blotches appear on the Martian landscape around “Inca City”, a location in the southern polar region, as the ice bursts in the springtime sun. Image obtained by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

As of Sept. 6, 2014, fans in “Inca City” in the Martian southern hemisphere are now blue-gray. Why this color appears in the spring is unknown. It could be because of particles falling into ice underneath, or gas bursting from the ice condensing and falling as frost. It could even be a combination of the two. Image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

As of Sept. 6, 2014, fans in “Inca City” in the Martian southern hemisphere are now blue-gray. Why this color appears in the spring is unknown. It could be because of particles falling into ice underneath, or gas bursting from the ice condensing and falling as frost. It could even be a combination of the two. Image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

As spring takes hold in the southern polar region of Mars on Sept. 27, 2014, cracks are now developing in the ice at “Inca City” with multiple new dust fans appearing. Cracks develop when the ice does not have a path to easily rupture and release gas. Picture taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

As spring takes hold in the southern polar region of Mars on Sept. 27, 2014, cracks are now developing in the ice at “Inca City” with multiple new dust fans appearing. Cracks develop when the ice does not have a path to easily rupture and release gas. Picture taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Source: Universe Today, written by Elizabeth Howell

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
86,070 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa (November 19, 2019)
  2. How Do We Colonize Ceres? (November 21, 2019)
  3. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)
  4. Scientists Reverse Dementia in Mice with Anti Inflammatory Drugs (5 days old)
  5. Scientists created a wireless battery free computer input device (December 1, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email