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North polar water ice by weight - December 8, 2003
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Sunset on Mars catches NASA's Mars Science Laboratory in the foreground in this artist's concept. The mission is under development for launch in 2009 and a precision landing on Mars in 2010.
Mars Science Laboratory at Sunset (Artist's Concept)
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NASA's Mars Science Laboratory travels near a canyon on Mars in this artist's concept. The mission is under development for launch in 2009 and a precision landing on Mars in 2010.
Mars Science Laboratory at Canyon (Artist's Concept)
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This image is located near the boundary between Syrtis Major and Isidis Planitia. The top of the image shows rough material that has eroded away from the lower portion of the image, revealing an underlying surface that has many small craters. It also reveals an ancient flow lobe that is barely discernable, crossing the southern part of the image (this flow lobe is much easier to see as a smooth region in the context image).
Erosion and what it Reveals
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Engineers for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission are completing assembly and testing for the twin robotic geologists at JPL. This
Assembly and Testing Mars Exploration Rovers
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One of two Mars Exploration Rovers sits inside its cruise stage waitingto undergo environmental testing at NASA's Jet PropulsionLaboratory.
Mars Exploration Rover
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NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since October 24, 2001.
Odyssey over Mars' South Pole
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The floor of this crater in Terra Sirenum contains layered material. The layered sedimentary material on Mars is arguably the most interesting and compelling material on the planet. These layers most likely contain the answers to fundamental questions about Martian geology, climate, and possibly even biology.
Terra Sirenum Crater
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The dunes and dust devil tracks in this VIS image are located on the plains of Planum Chronium.
Dunes and dust devil tracks in Planum Chronium
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The Marte Vallis system, located east of Cerberus and west of Amazonis Planitia, is known for its array of broken, platy flow features. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a close-up view of some of these plates; they appear to be like puzzle pieces that have been broken apart and moved away from each other. The Mars science community has been discussing these features for the past several years--either the flows in Marte Vallis are lava flows, or mud flows. In either case, the material was very fluid and had a thin crust on its surface. As the material continued to flow through the valley system, the crust broke up into smaller plates that were then rafted some distance down the valley. This picture is located near 6.9°N, 182.8°W. It is illuminated by sunlight from the left.
Marte Vallis Platy Flows
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Artist's rendition of Earth approximately 60,000 years ago
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This is a Mars Odyssey visible color image of an unnamed crater in western Arcadia Planitia (near 39 degrees N, 179 degrees E). The crater shows a number of interesting internal and external features that suggest that it has undergone substantial modification since it formed. These features include concentric layers and radial streaks of brighter, redder materials inside the crater, and a heavily degraded rim and ejecta blanket. The patterns inside the crater suggest that material has flowed or slumped towards the center. Other craters with features like this have been seen at both northern and southern mid latitudes The distribution of these kinds of craters suggests the possible influence of surface or subsurface ice in the formation of these enigmatic features. The image was taken on September 29, 2002 during late northern spring. This is an approximate true color image, generated from a long strip of visible red (654 nm), green (540 nm), and blue (425 nm) filter images that were calibrated using a combination of pre-flight measurements and Hubble images of Mars. The colors appear perhaps a bit darker than one might expect; this is most likely because the images were acquired in late afternoon (roughly 4:40 p.m. local solar time) and the low Sun angle results in an overall darker surface.
Western Arcadia Planitia
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Planum Boreum crater
Planum Boreum crater
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Rover 2 is driven over staggered ramps to test the suspension's range of motion.
Rover 2 Driving Test
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Hills abound in this portion of Mars located in the Vastitas Borealis region of the high northern plains. These hills are part of Scandia Colles. Note that some of the hills have aprons surrounding them. The northern part of Milankovic crater is visible in the lower portion of this image.
Bumpy Terrain in Vastitas Borealis
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This THEMIS image of rounded hills and ridges in Arcadia Planitia shows a very intriguing geomorphic feature that may be attributed to the presence of an icy-rock mixture of material. Smooth aprons of material are observed to be preferentially located on the cold, north facing slopes of hills and extend further and beyond the deposits located on other sides. These smooth deposits are in stark contrast to the more rough surfaces that dominate the scene and it has been suggested that they represent a preserved mixture of ice and rock. How exactly this deposit forms still remains a mystery. They may have been "pasted" onto the slopes and preserved on the cold facing sides or they may represent the result of downslope motion of material that is enhanced by the presence of ground ice. In either case, this interesting observation suggests that ground ice may still play an important role in the formation and preservation of martian surface features.
Arcadia Planitia
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MGS Views of Labyrinthus Noctis
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MGS Views of Labyrinthus Noctis
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MGS Views of Nirgal Vallis
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Rotated Perspective View of Nirgal Vallis
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Subsection of Nirgal Vallis Image
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Acheron Fossae in Visible Light
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This THEMIS visible image shows a close-up view of the ridged plains in Hesperia Planum. This region is the classic locality for martian surfaces that formed in the "middle ages" of martian history. The absolute age of these surfaces is not well known. However, using the abundance of impact craters, it is possible to determine that the Hesperian plains are younger than the ancient cratered terrains that dominate the southern hemisphere, and are older than low-lying plains of the northern hemisphere. In this image it is possible to see that this surface has a large number of 1-3 km diameter craters, indicating that this region is indeed very old and has subjected to a long period of bombardment. A large (80 km diameter) crater occurs just to the north (above) this image. The material that was thrown out onto the surface when the crater was formed ("crater ejecta") can be seen at the top of the THEMIS image. This ejecta material has been heavily eroded and modified since its formation, but there are hints of lobate flow features within the ejecta. Lobate ejecta deposits are thought to indicate that ice was present beneath the surface when the crater was formed, leading to these unusual lobate features. Many of the Hesperian plains are characterized by ridged surfaces. These ridges can be easily seen in the MOLA context image, and several can be seen cutting across the lower portion of the THEMIS image. These "wrinkle" ridges are thought to be the result of compression (squeezing) of the lavas that form these plains.
Hesperia Planum
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Cross-section of Icy Soil
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Polar Maps of Thermal and Epithermal Neutrons
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