02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Is New Social Media Game
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Social Media Game
08.02.2016 Artist Concept for RIMFAX
07.20.2016 Viking 40 Year Anniversary Artwork: Medal
07.18.2016 Mars 2020 Range Trigger
07.14.2016 NASA to Launch Mars Rover in 2020
Depth-to-Ice Map of a Southern Mars Site Near Melea PlanumColor coding in this map of a far-southern site on Mars indicates the change in nighttime ground-surface temperature between summer and fall. This site, like most of high-latitude Mars, has water ice mixed with soil near the surface. The ice is probably in a rock-hard frozen layer beneath a few centimeters or inches of looser, dry soil. The amount of temperature change at the surface likely corresponds to how close to the surface the icy material lies.
The dense, icy layer retains heat better than the looser soil above it, so where the icy layer is closer to the surface, the surface temperature changes more slowly than where the icy layer is buried deeper. On the map, areas of the surface that cooled more slowly between summer and autumn (interpreted as having the ice closer to the surface) are coded blue and green. Areas that cooled more quickly (interpreted as having more distance to the ice) are coded red and yellow.
The depth to the top of the icy layer estimated from these observations suggests that in some areas, but not others, water is being exchanged by diffusion between atmospheric water vapor and subsurface water ice. Differences in what type of material lies above the ice appear to affect the depth to the ice. The area in this image with the greatest seasonal change in surface temperature corresponds to an area of sand dunes.
This map and its interpretation are in a May 3, 2007, report in the journal Nature by Joshua Bandfield of Arizona State University, Tempe. The Thermal Emission Imaging System camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter collected the data presented in the map. The site is centered near 67 degrees south latitude, 36.5 degrees east longitude, near a plain named Melea Planum. This site is within the portion of the planet where, in 2002, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer suite of instruments on Mars Odyssey found evidence for water ice lying just below the surface. The information from the Gamma Ray Spectrometer is averaged over patches of ground hundreds of kilometers or miles wide. The information from the Thermal Emission Imaging System allows more than 100-fold higher resolution in mapping variations in the depth to ice.
The Thermal Emission Imaging System observed the site in infrared wavelengths during night time, providing surface-temperature information. It did so once on Dec. 27, 2005, during late summer in Mars' southern hemisphere, and again on Jan. 22, 2006, the first day of autumn there. The colors on this map signify relative differences in how much the surface temperature changed between those two observations. Blue indicates the locations with the least change. Red indicates areas with most change. Modeling provides estimates that the range of temperature changes shown in this map corresponds to a range in depth-to-ice of less than 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) to more than 19 centimeters (more than 7.5 inches). The sensitivity of this method for estimating the depth is not good for depths greater than about 20 centimeters (8 inches).
The temperature-change data are overlaid on a mosaic of black-and-white, daytime images taken in infrared wavelengths by the same camera, providing information about shapes in the landscape. The 20-kilometer scale bar is 12.4 miles long.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU