Water Ice Clouds over the Northern Plains
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Water Ice Clouds over the Northern Plains

October 8, 2009
This image displays splotchy water ice clouds that obscure the northern lowland plains in the region where the Viking 2 spacecraft landed. This image is far enough north to catch the edge of the north polar hood that develops during the northern winter. This is a cap of water and carbon dioxide ice clouds that form over the Martian north pole. As Mars progresses into northern spring, the persistent north polar hood ice clouds will dissipate and the surface viewing conditions will improve greatly. As the season develops, an equatorial belt of water ice clouds will form. This belt of water ice clouds is as characteristic of the Martian climate as the southern hemisphere summer dust storm season. Seasons on Mars have a dramatic effect on the state of the dynamic Martian atmosphere.

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