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: 3:23 PM
Latitude (centered):-51.849° Longitude (East):17.210°
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 upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:0.3° Phase angle:89.0°
Solar incidence angle:89°, with the Sun about 1° above the horizon Solar longitude:82.7°, Northern Spring
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:51.8°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:224.1°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. 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.