Image: Chasma Boreale, Mars

March 20, 2011
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

(PhysOrg.com) -- Chasma Boreale, a long, flat-floored valley, cuts deep into Mars' north polar icecap.

Its walls rise about 4,600 feet, or 1,400 meters, above the floor. Where the edge of the ice cap has retreated, sheets of sand are emerging that accumulated during earlier ice-free climatic cycles. Winds blowing off the ice have pushed loose sand into dunes and driven them down-canyon in a westward direction.

This scene combines images taken during the period from December 2002 to February 2005 by the instrument on NASA's Mars Odyssey was part of a special series of images marking the orbiter as the longest-working in history.

Explore further: One Mars Orbiter Takes First Photos of Other Orbiters

Related Stories

Strange Martian Spirals Explained

June 16, 2010

Almost 40 years ago, NASA's Mariner 9 spacecraft relayed to Earth the first video images of Mars' northern polar ice cap, revealing a strange pattern of spiral swirls that has puzzled scientists ever since. Using new data ...

Winds of change strike Mars, too

February 3, 2011

Mysterious dark sand dunes around Mars' northern polar cap are shifting with the seasons, as carbon dioxide gas changes form and sparks landscape-altering avalanches, said a study published Thursday.

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alec123456789
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
Wow!
I found my new desktop image. :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.