NASA Discovered ‘Field of Ice Blocks’ Collapsing on Mars

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft captured before-and-after pictures showing part of Mars’ north polar cap collapsing.

The MRO HiRise camera team at the University of Arizona stitch together a GIF showing the drastic change in the landscape. “This animation shows where a section of the slope at right has collapsed since three Mars-years ago and deposited a field of ice blocks,” wrote planetary geologist Alfred McEwen for a HiRise picture release on Friday.

'Field of Ice Blocks' Collapsing on Mars

A Mars-year lasts for 687 Earth days. MRO caught the second image, the one showing the ice-block remodel, on Dec. 25, 2019.

MRO has been in residence around the Red Planet since 2006. The orbiter’s longevity and high-resolution camera have made it one of science’s most important eyewitnesses to changes on Mars.

The HiRise team has caught Mars in the act of redecorating before. A dramatic image from 2019 showed a cloud of dust from an avalanche. These natural processes are something Mars and Earth have in common. Gravity and the changing of the seasons can leave an important mark.

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