NASA’s MRO mission has determined that the Red Planet goes through seasonal changes just like Earth does. The changes, however, are very different than what we experience on our home world. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona


NASA’s MRO spacecraft arrived at Mars in 2006 and has provided new details about the Red Planet.
Image Credit: NASA

NASA MRO Video Highlights Mars’ Dynamic Environment

By Jason Rhian

A recent video compiled of imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows that—far from the dead planet that Mars was once believed to be—the Red Planet is a very active world.

Since arriving at Mars in March 2006, the spacecraft has observed changes to the sand dunes located in the far north of the planet affected by frozen carbon dioxide. One of the processes by which the carbon dioxide on Mars travels around the planet is called sublimation. On Earth, the cycle in which water moves from one state to another is well known: ice melts to become a liquid, and then the liquid evaporates to become a vapor. Sublimation skips the middle man. Ice moves directly into a vapor without becoming a liquid.

The seasonal processes on Mars are shaped by this process when gas moves up from under the ice, sand, and dust, forming streaks and fans. The patterns, however, don’t remain. Once again, the changeable Martian weather—in this case, the winds—clears the landscape.

Read more: NASA MRO Video Highlights Mars’ Dynamic Environment « AmericaSpace.

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