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11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
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03.21.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
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03.09.2016 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter By the Numbers
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11.16.2015 Change Observed in Martian Sand Dune
10.05.2015 'The Martian' Story's Ares 4 Landing Site
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09.30.2015 Avalanche Ho!
06.29.2015 Mars Exploration Zone Layout Considerations
06.17.2015 Active High-Latitude Dune Gullies
06.03.2015 Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae
05.20.2015 Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor
05.20.2015 Honey, I Shrunk the Mesas
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03.25.2015 Pitted Landforms in Southern Hellas Planitia
03.12.2015 Curiosity Heading Away from 'Pahrump Hills'
02.18.2015 Lava Flow Near the Base of Olympus Mons
02.09.2015 Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars
02.04.2015 Curiosity Rover at 'Pahrump Hills'
01.22.2015 Frost on Crater Slope
01.16.2015 Components of Beagle 2 Flight System on Mars
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12.02.2014 NASA's Journey to Mars
11.07.2014 Mars Orbiter Sizes Up Passing Comet
Troughs and Scarps in Planum AustraleThis image shows an outcrop of the south polar layered deposits (SPLD). The SPLD consist of layers of ice and admixed dust and make up the bulk of the dome-shaped Planum Australe.
Planum Australe is, in some ways, analogous to the Antarctic ice sheet. Troughs and scarps carved into Planum Australe by erosional processes have exposed SPLD layers within it. In this image, the darkest area at the bottom of the image is the bottom of the scarp. Except for the dark material at the bottom of the slope, much of the changes in brightness in this image are due to the lighting angle, the direction from which the sun is illuminating the slope.
Much like ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica and deep sea sediment cores, the icy-dusty layers of the SPLD may have preserved a record of recent Mars climate history. Understanding that record is a complex process and involves, among many other types of analyses, examining the differences and similarities in appearance between each layer and attempting to classify layer types. This image shows nice examples of different layer textures. But what is especially interesting about this image are the faults cutting through the layers. These faults appear as diagonal lines, on either side of which, the layering is offset. Note that the faults are not clean, single lines, but appear in long groups of short lines.
What caused these faults is still under investigation, but, among other possibilities, they could be related to an earlier time when temperatures were higher and the ice was flowing at a much faster rate than it is today.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona