The Poles of Mars Image Gallery

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Mars has ice caps at both its North and South Poles. These two images, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope at different times, show the Martian polar ice caps. The image on the left shows the northern polar cap; the image on the right shows the southern cap.
(Images courtesy of Phil James {Univ. Toledo}, Todd Clancy {Space Science Inst., Boulder, CO}, Steve Lee {Univ. Colorado}, and NASA [North Pole image]; and NASA, J. Bell {Cornell U.} and M. Wolff {SSI} [South Pole image].)
Mars has ice caps at both its North and South Poles. This image shows the northern polar cap. The permanent ice cap is made of water ice. During the winter, an additional layer of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is deposited on top of the water ice. The dry ice at the North Pole sublimates away in the summer.
(Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.)
The polar ice caps on Mars grow and shrink with the seasons. In this image, the northern polar ice cap is large in the left-hand image from early springtime (after expanding during the winter). The polar cap is much smaller in extent in the right-hand image from summertime.
(Images courtesy of NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.)
These are Mariner 7 images of Mars taken in August 1969. The southern polar ice cap is visible at the bottom of each image.
(Images courtesy of NASA/JPL.)

Mars has ice caps at both its North and South Poles. This image shows the southern polar cap. The ice cap is mostly water ice, though the surface of the cap is covered by a layer of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide).
(Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.)

This is a false color image of the South Pole of Mars showing the polar ice cap.
(Image courtesy of NASA.)

These are some of the first pictures of the south polar region of Mars. They were taken by the Mariner 7 spacecraft.
(Images courtesy of NASA.)

Swiss cheese on Mars? That's what scientists thought of when they first spotted this unusual terrain near the South Pole of Mars. They think that seasonal freezing and sublimation of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) in the polar ice caps may somehow create these bizarre features, but nobody knows for sure.
(Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Brown University.)

The polar ice caps of Mars have several types of odd features and unusual terrain. Scientist think that seasonal freezing and sublimation of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) in the polar ice caps may somehow create these pits.
(Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Brown University.)

Like Earth's climate, the climate of Mars changes over time. Scientists believe Mars has had warmer periods in its past, and colder times as well. Here is what an artist thinks Mars might have looked like during a past ice age. Notice how the polar ice caps are much larger than at the present time.
(Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Brown University.)
Last modified July 29, 2008 by Randy Russell.

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