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Mars Ice Age PIA04933 modest
 

 

 

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Description
English: An illustration of what Mars might have looked like during an ice age between 2.1 million and 400,000 years ago, when Mars's axial tilt is believed to have been much larger than today. This illustration was prepared for the cover of the December 18 2003 issue of the journal Nature.
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Original caption

This simulated view shows Mars as it might have appeared during the height of a possible ice age in geologically recent time.

Of all Solar System planets, Mars has the climate most like that of Earth. Both are sensitive to small changes in orbit and tilt. During a period about 2.1 million to 400,000 years ago, increased tilt of Mars' rotational axis caused increased solar heating at the poles. A new study using observations from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey orbiters concludes that this polar warming caused mobilization of water vapor and dust into the atmosphere, and buildup of a surface deposit of ice and dust down to about 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres. That is the equivalent of the southern Unites States or Saudi Arabia on Earth. Mars has been in an interglacial period characterized by less axial tilt for about the last 300,000 years. The ice-rich surface deposit has been degrading in the latitude zone of 30 degrees to 60 degrees as water-ice returns to the poles.

In this illustration prepared for the December 18, 2003, cover of the journal Nature, the simulated surface deposit is superposed on a topography map based on altitude measurements by Global Surveyor and images from NASA's Viking orbiters of the 1970s.

Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Office of Space Science, Washington.
Date 18 December 2003(2003-12-18)
Source http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA04933 file
Author NASA/JPL/Brown University
Permission
(Reusing this file)
Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)

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Shuttle.svg This image or video was catalogued by Jet Propulsion Lab of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Photo ID: PIA04933.
This tag does not indicate the copyright status or the source of the attached work. A normal copyright tag and a source are still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.

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The original description page is/was here. All following user names refer to en.wikipedia.

  • 2004-07-06 03:31 Curps 577×577× (41292 bytes) Credit: NASA/JPL/Brown University


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