The Martian ice cap is like a cake with every layer telling a story. In this case, the story is one of climate change on Mars.
In this image is an exposed section of the north polar layered deposits (NPLD). Like a delicious slice of layered tiramisu, the NPLD is made up of water-ice and dust particles stacked one on top of the other. However, instead of icing, layers are topped with seasonal carbon dioxide frost. We can observe lingering frost adhering to one of the layers
The high-resolution and color capabilities of HiRISE provide details on the variations in the layers. Scientists are also using radar data
, which show us that they have continuity in the subsurface. During deposition, these complex layers might encapsulate tiny air pockets from the atmosphere which, if sampled, could be studied to understand linkages to previous climates.
In the end, it’s not always a piece of cake studying NPLD on Mars but, where there is cake, there is hope! ID
: 4 November 2019 altitude
: 319 kmObservation details page
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