How Gas Carves Channels
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
How Gas Carves Channels
ESP_046845_0975  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes

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A layer of dry ice covers the South Polar layered deposits every winter. In the spring, gas created from heating of the dry ice escapes through ruptures in the overlying seasonal ice, entraining material from the ground below. The gas erodes channels in the surface, shown in this image, generally exploiting weaker material.

The ground likely started as polygonal patterned ground (common in water-ice-rich surfaces), and then escaping gas widened the channels. Fans of dark material are bits of the surface carried onto the top of the seasonal ice layer and deposited in a direction determined by local winds.

This target was suggested by the citizen scientists at Planetfour : Terrains.

Written by: Candy Hansen (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (24 January 2017)

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Acquisition date
24 July 2016

Local Mars time:
16:44

Latitude (centered)
-82.354°

Longitude (East)
272.572°

Range to target site
247.6 km (154.8 miles)

Original image scale range
49.5 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~149 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection
Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
2.5°

Phase angle:
84.7°

Solar incidence angle
83°, with the Sun about 7° above the horizon

Solar longitude
191.4°, Northern Autumn

North azimuth:
110°

Sub-solar azimuth:
37.8°
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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



Postscript
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.