(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists working with images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission have noticed a strange formation near the planet’s south pole. This crater, similar to a smile, they called “The Face of Happiness”. They began to follow him back in 2011 using images taken with a HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera.
After examining recent images of the crater taken in 2020 in the same season as the first photographs, scientists found that details of the crater had changed their color. They attributed this to a change in the amount of ice covering the reddish surface. However, it can be seen that the very features of the “face” have enlarged over the past 9 years.
“The blotchy details on the polar cap are due to the sublimation of carbon dioxide in these oval structures. You can see how nine years of this thermal erosion has enlarged the “mouth” on the face. The “nose” in 2011 consisted of two round depressions, in 2020 these depressions grew and merged, “the University of Arizona said in a statement.
Tracking such changes in the landscape of Mars will help scientists better understand the laws governing the seasonal removal and transfer of ice in the polar regions of the planet, as well as study the climate trends of the planet.
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