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Amazing Space Photos

Mars Ice Cap Troughs

An image released by NASA shows Mars' seasonal cap of carbon dioxide ice has eroded many beautiful terrains as it sublimates in the Martian spring. In the region where the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image, shows troughs that form a starburst pattern. In other areas these radial troughs have been referred to as spiders, simply because of their shape. In this region the pattern looks more dendritic as channels branch out numerous times as they get further from the center. The troughs are believed to be formed by gas flowing beneath the seasonal ice to openings where the gas escapes, carrying along dust from the surface below. The dust falls to the surface of the ice in fan-shaped deposits.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

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