NASA’s latest photos capture the abstract beauty of snow dunes on Mars

Dec 27, 2022

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

NASA’s latest photos capture the abstract beauty of snow dunes on Mars

Dec 27, 2022

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Winter has arrived here on the Earth’s Northern hemisphere, and some of you were lucky enough to have a white Christmas. But did you know that winter is also happening on Mars? With temperatures as low as -120° C, how can it not?

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently captured stunning photos of snowy dunes on the Red Planet, giving us a glimpse of what winter looks like on our neighboring planet. They are not only visually striking, but they also provide valuable information about the Martian climate.

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Some of the coldest temperatures occur at Mars’ poles, where it gets as low as -190° F (-123° C). But as NASA explains, it’s still not the dreamy snowy landscape you can see in the Rocky Mountains. “No region of Mars gets more than a few feet of snow, most of which falls over extremely flat areas,” NASA explains. “And the Red Planet’s elliptical orbit means it takes many more months for winter to come around: a single Mars year is around two Earth years.” The orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) peered through the clouds, taking some photos of the winter wonderland on the Red Planet.

NASA further explains that the snow on Mars isn’t quite the same as the one we have here on Earth- It comes in two varieties: water ice and carbon dioxide, or dry ice. “Because Martian air is so thin and the temperatures so cold, water-ice snow sublimates, or becomes a gas, before it even touches the ground,” the statement reads. “Dry-ice snow actually does reach the ground.”

So, even though Martian snow and extreme temperatures aren’t exactly perfect for a snowball fight, they’re equally photogenic as fresh snow on Earth. Take a look at more photos below and read more on NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s website.

A layer of carbon dioxide frost (dry ice) on the surface of Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Water ice frozen in the soil splits the ground into polygons. Erosion of the channels forming the boundaries of the polygons by dry ice sublimating in the spring adds plenty of twists and turns to them. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
A unique polar dune field during northern spring.
The main “megadune” formation comprises giant crescent-shaped dunes called “barchans,” which have been migrating (from upper-right to lower-left) over the past several centuries or more.
Light-toned seasonal carbon dioxide frost and ice that accumulated over the winter still covers the majority of the surface, and is now starting to defrost and sublimate in complex patterns. (This depends on the slope aspect and incoming solar illumination). As frost is removed, the darker “coal-black” nature of the dune sand is revealed. For example, compare with this image taken in summer, when frost is gone and the dunes are migrating. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
This picture was taken far north of the equator just two days after the winter solstice when the Sun was just a few degrees above the horizon. Sand dunes are moving across this landscape from top left to bottom right. Winter frost covers the colder, north-facing half of each dune (but not the warmer south-facing half). The frost here is a mixture of carbon dioxide ice and water ice and will disappear in a few months when spring arrives. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

[via Digital Trends]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “NASA’s latest photos capture the abstract beauty of snow dunes on Mars”

  1. Rod Huff Avatar
    Rod Huff

    Although they literally just said we no longer have the technology to send images for the recent moon launch and we would have to wait til it got back to download them. Cool story NASA.

  2. Joey Todd Avatar
    Joey Todd

    That’s a penis

  3. MD Yusuf Avatar
    MD Yusuf

    Hi you are sharing mars photos for one corporate website. I save your tips in my memory

  4. Hans van Vrouwerf Avatar
    Hans van Vrouwerf

    Joey Todd is it yours?