Frosted Ground in the Southern Hemisphere in Late Fall
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Frosted Ground in the Southern Hemisphere in Late Fall
ESP_026388_1280  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
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This image was acquired within two weeks of the winter solstice, when the subsolar latitude is at its northernmost position.

At this location (latitude 52 S) and time the sun barely peeks over the horizon in the mid-afternoon when MRO passes overhead, and carbon dioxide frost is building up on most of the surface.

In enhanced color, the frost appears blue. Slopes that face north receive more heat from the sun and appear reddish, indicating less frost is present. There may also be a small amount of water frost on the surface.

Mars is very different from Earth in that its main atmospheric component can condense onto the surface. The nitrogen that dominates Earth's atmosphere never condenses onto the surface, although nitrogen in the atmospheres of frigid Triton and Pluto does form surface frost and ice.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio by Tre Gibbs)   (9 May 2012)

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Acquisition date
13 March 2012

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
251.8 km (157.3 miles)

Original image scale range
100.7 cm/pixel (with 4 x 4 binning) so objects ~302 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
100 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle:

Phase angle:

Solar incidence angle
89°, with the Sun about 1° above the horizon

Solar longitude
82.7°, Northern Spring

North azimuth:

Sub-solar azimuth:
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.