This is a picture of the ice cap at the South Pole on Mars. This picture was shot from Mars orbit in 2000 by a spacecraft called Mars Global Surveyor. The white regions are ice. Most of the ice is water ice, but there is also a thinner layer of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) on top of the water ice. The ice cap is about 420 km (260 miles) across. It was summer in the southern part of Mars when this picture was taken. In the winter, the area shown in this picture is completely covered by dry ice.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems.
The South Pole of Mars
The first spacecraft to take a picture of the South Pole of Mars was Mariner 7. The South Pole of Mars has craters, sand dunes, and the polar ice cap.
The south pole of Mars is important because that's where the great dust storms of Mars start! The Mars '98 mission was suppose to land there, but NASA lost contact with it.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
The first spacecraft to take a picture of the South Pole of Mars was Mariner 7. The South Pole of Mars has craters, sand dunes, and the polar ice cap. The south pole of Mars is important because that's...more
Isidis Planitia is the name of a place on Mars. Isidis Planitia is a very flat plain. It is inside the bottom of a very old crater. Isidis Planitia is big. It is about 1,500 km (930 miles) across. That...more
Gusev Crater is an impact crater on Mars that looks as though a lake may have once filled it in the distant past. One of the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) will explore Gusev Crater beginning in January...more
Meridiani Planum is the name of a flat plain on Mars. Opportunity landed there. Opportunity is one of the Mars Exploration Rovers. Meridiani Planum is very flat. "Planum" means "plain". Scientists think...more
Unlike the Earth, where clouds are found around the entire globe, on Mars, clouds seem only to be found near the equator, as shown in this Hubble telescope image. This may be because water of Mars may...more
The Martian ionosphere is a layer of gas that is very high up above Mars. It extends from about 75 miles up to several hundred miles up above the surface. It is shown by the shaded region circling the...more
An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetic field near Mars. The magnetic field leads to the formation of a magnetosphere,...more