Mars’ frosty crater sparkles in new NASA photo

(ORDO NEWS) — Hoarfrost stretches across the surface of the southern crater on Mars in a new photo from the Red Planet.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) took a picture of the frost-covered surface of Mars.

Winters on Mars can be very cold, with temperatures near the poles dropping to minus 125 degrees Celsius. In turn, a layer of carbonic frost, or dry ice, may form on the surface of some regions of the planet.

By the middle of a four-month winter, frost can spread from the poles to the mid-latitudes of the planet, or to about 50 degrees latitude, where it begins to melt under the warm rays of the Sun. This is equivalent to roughly the latitude of Volgograd on Earth, NASA said in a statement.

But orbiters can also spot small patches of frost on the pole-facing slopes closer to the equator. Temperatures are colder in these places because less sunlight gets there, which means that carbon dioxide does not melt.

A recent HiRISE photo was taken in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars in the middle of winter. The image shows a crater located at about 37 degrees south latitude.

The south-facing slope of the crater is covered in bright carbon dioxide frost, which appears blue in a color photograph taken by the orbiter. The image shows dry ice in and around slope ravines that have been carved by mudflows that occur during the warmer months.

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