Temperatures at the South Polar Region and MPL Site Just Prior to MPL arrival.
These temperatures are from the TES thermal bolometer which measures radiant energy from 6µm to 100µm. This spectral region includes the strong 15µm atmospheric CO2 band and the 9µm atmospheric dust band, so atmospheric temperatures can have a small effect on the measured temperature.
1999's recession of the Southern Cap
See a false-color animation of the thermal data from the 1999 south polar recession. Read more
The first two images show the temperatures in the Martian south polar region just prior to th earrival of the Mars polar lander. The color transition from blue to green shows the current edge of the south polar cap. Circles are spaced at 10 degrees of latitude. 0° longitude is straight up. The third figure shows the current Albedo of the polar cap. The region that was made up of dark CO2, or Cryptic CO2, has sublimed away much quicker than other areas of the seasonal polar cap. The fourth image shows the sublimation rate of CO2 in kg/day/m ². The green outline marks the area considered for landing. Click on the image to see an enlarged view.
A comparison with historical data (MGS TES and Viking IRTM) reveals a polar cap that is receding in much the same manner in 1977, 1997, and 1999. This is good as the location and time of the Polar Landing was based polar temperature data from the IRTM, and later verified with TES pre-mapping data.