Scientists using radar data from our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have found a record of the most recent Martian ice age recorded in the planet’s north polar ice cap. The new results agree with previous models that indicate a glacial period ended about 400,000 years ago, as well as predictions about how much ice would have been accumulated at the poles since then. The results help refine models of the Red Planet’s past and future climate by allowing scientists to determine how ice moves between the poles and mid-latitudes, and in what volumes.
Climatic cycles of ice and dust build the Martian polar caps, season by season, year by year, and periodically whittle down their size when the climate changes. This image is a simulated 3-D perspective view, created from image data taken by the THEMIS instrument on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft.
Credits: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University, R. Luk
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