Tag Archives: frost

Behold: sand dunes defrosting near the north pole of Mars last May, pictured by the ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. To wit:

The carbon dioxide and water ice actually sublime in the thin atmosphere directly to gas. Thinner regions of ice typically defrost first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw. The process might even involve sandy jets exploding through the thinning ice. By Summer, spots will expand to encompass the entire dunes. The Martian North Pole is ringed by many similar fields of barchan sand dunes, whose strange, smooth arcs are shaped by persistent Martian winds.

(ImageESARoscosmosCaSSIS)

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