Daily Polar Images

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Daily Polar Temperatures

The left image is day time temperatures (~2 pm) and the right image is night time temperatures (~2 am).
Mars nearing the end southern winter. The seasonal polar cap edge has grown to its maximum extent, and will start to shrink over the next few months. The edge of the cap is symetric, with the cap edge currently near 58°S. The seasonal cap is dry ice.

More about the South Pole

Dalmation spots on Mars

August 2006, Letters to Nature

Scientists have now found a better explanation for the dark spots and fans found on the south polar region of Mars. These spots, which can cover tens of square kilometers, are visible in the cryptic region. Originally, it was suggested that the spots were soil, exposed after early defrosting of the polar ice. However, an intensive new study with the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) shows that the temperatures of the spots are inconsistent with expected temperatures of soil. Instead, the dark spots are within a few degrees of solid CO2 (~ -130°C). Soil, even when bordered by CO2, is greater than ~ -50°C. This suggests that the dark spots exists either on top, underneath, or inside of a layer of CO2. The previous suggestion that the spots are defrosted, CO2 ice free regions, no longer seems plausible. Read More

Omega Observations between Ls 221.6 and 224.4

August 2006, Letters to Nature

“No signature of clear CO2 ice from the 'cryptic' regions in Mars' south seasonal polar cap”
While these findings appear consistent with the Kieffer et. al., the OEMGA team does suggest an alternate and competing model. Read More

Image of TES data layed over MOLA to produce a South Pole Cap Albedo Map

May 12, 2005

"Scientists think they have an answer to the long-standing mystery of why the permanent icecap on Mars' South Pole is offset from the pole itself. Simply put, it's colder and stormier in that hemisphere.
But that is only part of the equation, they say, and new understanding about Mars' climate and its polar regions may suggest clues to finding water in the planet's equatorial zone - where it would be easier to land a spacecraft - and opening the door to future exploration." Read more at the Corvallis Gazette-Times or read the journal article at LPI: Read the Article [PDF]

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TES and THEMIS find Exposed Water Ice near the Mars Southern Cap.

This is a thermal infrared image taken of the edge of the southern cap. The animation is of the visual image that was taken simultaneously. The IR image is in color and the vis image is gray scale. The blue colored region in the top half of the figure is believed to be exposed water ice. More information can be found at Science Express or at the fall meeting of AGU. A free copy of the article can be acquired from our Abstracts page.

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Current temperatures at the former Mars Polar Landing Site:

As well as albedo and sublimation rates for the entire southern polar region. This site is now for archival purposes only. Read more

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What did Mars South Polar Cap look like 2 years ago... 22 years ago?

See a comparison of Viking IRTM data and MGS TES data. Read more

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Where was the cap edge last Martian year?

This site shows the recession of the south polar cap as a function of season from 1997. Read more

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The Cryptic Region: Dark Dry Ice on the Southern Cap.

The Cryptic region is a dark polar cap albedo feature that forms in the spring. Read more

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1999's recession of the Southern Cap

See a false-color animation of the thermal data from the 1999 south polar recession. Read more

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1997's recession of the Southern Cap

See a false-color animation where we have combined visual and thermal data into a movie of the 1997 south polar recession. Read more