This image of ice and dust layers which have been deposited during the numerous seasonal changes near the Mars north pole were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the ESA Mars Express probe on 14 November 2006. Because a year on Mars, or one revolution around the Sun, lasts approximately twice as long as on Earth, and the rotational axis is tilted to almost the same degree as on our planet, seasonal differences are similarly distinctive as on Earth. However, due to the rarefied atmosphere and the great distance from the Sun, temperatures are considerably lower than on Earth. The polar caps expand extensively in winter and shrink in size again when spring arrives. The continuous atmospheric processes on Mars together with seasonal changes in the polar areas are key to understanding the history of the planet’s climate.
This is an image taken during orbit no. 3663 at an altitude of approximately 375 kilometres of an area near the Chasmal Boreal canyon located at 85 degrees North and 338 degrees East. The original image data resolution has been reduced to give a better representation on the Internet.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).