Highlights

  • Spring bloom seen on Martian surface
  • Image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Pattern due to water ice on surface of Mars

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Springtime bloom on the Red Planet is slightly different than Earth | Watch

University of Arizona which handles the Mars Orbiter says that the polygons have formed because of water ice that that is frozen in the soil. Water and dry ice, both play a major role in forming Mars' surface on higher latitudes. 

Springtime bloom on Mars has given rise to new discussions after an image was captured by a camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The image shows a patchwork of white zig-zags, shaped like polygons, spread across Martian soil on high latitudes with random sprays of some black and blue mist spread out between them. These zig-zags are typical of Martian springs. Seasons on the Red Planet are similar to Earth in numbers, however, each of those seasons are twice as long as those on Earth. Spring on Mars continues for over 190 days whereas on Earth it is just 90 days long.

University of Arizona which handles the Mars Orbiter says that the polygons have formed because of water ice that that is frozen in the soil. Water and dry ice, both play a major role in forming Mars' surface on higher latitudes.

The edges of the polygons crack and fray during spring when surface ice transforms from solid into a gaseous state through sublimation. When this happens, vents of dry ice spray out of Mars' surface, leaving dark, fan-shaped deposits of particles spread across the ground, researchers at University of Arizona said.

A single ice vent may open and close multiple times, resulting in particles spraying in different directions across the planet's surface. As the particles are sprayed depending on the wind, some areas appear darker and some lighter.

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The camera onboard the Mars Reconnassaince Orbiter is called the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HIRISE). The orbiter, which began its journey in 2006 has captured a varying amount of image, including ones of the Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in our solar system (consequently the known largest canyon in our universe). Nearly 10 times longer than Earth's Grand Canyon and three times deeper, it remains a Martian geology mystery.

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