Latest Planum Boreum Stories

2011-02-03 14:55:00

According to research using images from a NASA orbiter, sand dunes in a vast area of northern Mars long thought to be frozen in time are changing with both sudden and gradual motions. NASA said on Thursday that the dune fields cover an area the size of Texas in a band around the planet at the edge of Mars' north polar cap.  The new findings suggest they are among the most active landscapes on Mars.  However, few changes in these dark-toned dunes had been detected before a campaign...

2010-05-26 15:28:00

PASADENA, Calif., May 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have helped scientists solve a pair of mysteries dating back four decades and provided new information about climate change on the Red Planet. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The Shallow Radar, or SHARAD, instrument aboard MRO revealed subsurface geology allowing scientists to reconstruct the formation of a large chasm and a series of spiral troughs on...

2010-05-26 12:40:00

Scientists have reconstructed the formation of two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars"”a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs"”solving a pair of mysteries dating back four decades while finding new evidence of climate change on Mars. In a pair of papers to be published in the journal Nature on May 27, Jack Holt and Isaac Smith of The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics and their colleagues describe how they used radar...

2009-03-06 10:50:00

ESA's Mars Express orbiter imaged the snow-laden region of Rupes Tenuis on the martian north pole on July 29, 2008. The images are centered around 81° north and 297° east and have a ground resolution of 41 m/pixel. They cover an area of about 44 000 km2, almost as large as the Netherlands.  Rupes Tenuis is located at the southern edge of the martian north polar cap, approximately 5500 km northeast of the Tharsis volcanic region. At present, polar caps contain the largest water...

2008-10-16 08:40:00

HiRISE Reveals Rare Polar Impact Craters On Mars An odd, solitary hill rising part-way down an eroding slope in Mars' north polar layered terrain may be the remnant of a buried impact crater, suggests a University of Arizona planetary scientist who studied the feature in a new, detailed image from the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE, or the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, headed by Alfred McEwen of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, is based at...

2008-07-10 13:00:00

Scientists running the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, known as HiRISE, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have processed more details in an amazing image their camera captured as the Phoenix spacecraft descended through Mars' atmosphere during its landing on May 25, 2008. New analysis has turned up what likely is Phoenix's heat shield falling toward Mars' surface, they conclude. HiRISE, run from The University of Arizona, made history by taking the first image of a spacecraft...

2008-05-14 11:24:17

Even in the clearest, bluest sky on Earth, there is still water vapor in our atmosphere. If you could condense all the water vapor out of the atmosphere above you, it would form a layer of water two centimeters deep. On Mars today, there is also water vapor in the atmosphere but it would create a layer just 10 micrometers thick. As on Earth, this water is constantly moving through a cycle of condensation and evaporation. When it condenses, it falls to the surface. When it evaporates, it...

2007-11-23 19:11:58

During the past month, Mars has doubled in brightness and it is putting on a nice show for backyard stargazers. "Mars is starting to look really nice through my 10-inch telescope," reports amateur astronomer Friedrich Deters of LaGrange, North Carolina, who took the picture at right on Nov. 17th. "Very nice!" agrees Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, who captured a similar snapshot the next night. The blue polar swirl in these pictures is the "North Polar Hood""”a giant icy cloud that...

2007-03-15 13:20:00

The amount of water trapped in frozen layers over Mars' south polar region is equivalent to a liquid layer about 11 metres deep covering the planet. This new estimate comes from mapping the thickness of the dusty ice by the Mars Express radar instrument that has made more than 300 virtual slices through layered deposits covering the pole. The radar sees through icy layers to the lower boundary, which in places is as deep as 3.7 kilometres below the surface.  "The south polar layered...

2006-10-19 12:10:00

This mosaic image was built from ten observations by the OMEGA Visible and Infrared Mineralogical Mapping Spectrometer on board ESA's Mars Express, when the spacecraft was flying at about 6000 kilometres altitude over the south pole during the Martian early to mid-Spring. The dark region within the bright seasonal cap below and to the right of the pole is the so-called "Ëœcryptic region' on Mars. During Southern spring, this area "Ëœmysteriously' become much darker than...

Word of the Day
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'