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02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
03.21.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter By the Numbers
03.01.2016 MRO sees Frosty Spring Slopes
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.10.2016 Wind at Work
11.16.2015 Change Observed in Martian Sand Dune
10.05.2015 'The Martian' Story's Ares 4 Landing Site
10.05.2015 The Ares 3 Landing Site (Figure A)
09.30.2015 Avalanche Ho!
06.29.2015 Mars Exploration Zone Layout Considerations
06.17.2015 Active High-Latitude Dune Gullies
06.03.2015 Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae
05.20.2015 Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor
05.20.2015 Honey, I Shrunk the Mesas
05.11.2015 Icy Wonderland
05.04.2015 Diverse Orbits Around Mars
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03.27.2015 A Smile a Day....
03.25.2015 Pitted Landforms in Southern Hellas Planitia
03.12.2015 Curiosity Heading Away from 'Pahrump Hills'
02.18.2015 Lava Flow Near the Base of Olympus Mons
02.09.2015 Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars
02.04.2015 Curiosity Rover at 'Pahrump Hills'
01.22.2015 Frost on Crater Slope
01.16.2015 Components of Beagle 2 Flight System on Mars
12.03.2014 An Enigmatic Feature in Athabasca Lava Flows
12.02.2014 NASA's Journey to Mars
A Fresh Crater Drills to Tharsis BedrockThese two Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) images were acquired over the northern plains of Mars near one of the possible landing sites for NASA's Phoenix mission, set to launch in August 2007. The lower right image was acquired first, on Nov. 29, 2006, at 0720 UTC (2:20 a.m. EST), while the upper left image was acquired about one month later on Dec. 26, 2006, at 0030 UTC (or Dec. 25, 2006, at 7:30 p.m. EST). The CRISM data were taken in 544 colors covering the wavelength range from 0.36-3.92 micrometers, and show features as small as about 20 meters (66 feet) across. The images shown above are red-green-blue color composites using wavelengths 0.71, 0.6, and 0.53 micrometers, respectively (or infrared, red, and green light), and are overlain on a mosaic of Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) visible data. Each image covers a region about 11 kilometers (6.6 miles) wide at its narrowest, and they overlap near 71.0 degrees north latitude, 252.8 degrees east longitude
The Earth equivalent to the season and latitude of this site is late summer in northern Canada, above the Arctic Circle. At that season and latitude, Martian weather conditions are transitioning from summer with generally clear skies, occasional weather fronts, and infrequent dust storms, to an autumn with pervasive, thick water-ice clouds.
The striking difference in the appearance of the images is caused by the seasonal development of water-ice clouds. The earlier (lower right) image is cloud-free, and surface features can clearly be seen – like the small crater in the upper left. However, the clouds and haze in the later (upper left) image make it hard to see the surface. There are variations in the thickness and spacing of the clouds, just like clouds on Earth. On other days when nearby sites were imaged, the cloud cover varied day-to-day, but as the seasons change the trend is more and thicker clouds.
With the onset of autumn the clouds will gradually cover the area and, just as with autumn on Earth, the Martian day is getting shorter at these high northern latitudes. In a few more months this area will settle into winter darkness and be covered in a layer of frost and carbon dioxide snow.
The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) is one of six science instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Led by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the CRISM team includes expertise from universities, government agencies and small businesses in the United States and abroad. CRISM's mission: Find the spectral fingerprints of aqueous and hydrothermal deposits and map the geology, composition and stratigraphy of surface features. The instrument will also watch the seasonal variations in Martian dust and ice aerosols, and water content in surface materials — leading to new understanding of the climate.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech