Mars' South Polar Cap in Summer
Simultaneous infrared and visible images taken by the camera system
on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft show the martian south polar cap in
late summer. The black areas in the infrared image are at a temperature
near -125 degrees Celsius (-193 degrees Fahrenheit) and correspond to
solid carbon dioxide ice. The purple regions are areas of exposed water
ice at a temperature near -95 degrees Celsius (-139 degrees Fahrenheit).
The warmest (red) areas are classic "dark lanes" of frost-free soil at a
temperature near -55 degrees Celsius (-67 degrees Fahrenheit). The
right panel shows the same infrared image with a visible image
superimposed. The infrared image is approximately 32 kilometers
(20 miles) wide.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for
NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C. Investigators at
Arizona State University in Tempe, the University of Arizona in Tucson
and NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, operate the science
instruments. Additional science partners are located at the Russian
Aviation and Space Agency and at Los Alamos National Laboratories, New
Mexico. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for
the project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are
conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL.
Image credit NASA/JPL/Arizona State University/U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff