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Dry Ice Gone Wild
Dry Ice Gone Wild (click to enlarge)

Dry Ice Gone Wild
Date: 12 Jan 2011

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO) HiRISE instrument has transformed our view of Mars from a barren world to one of diverse and active landscapes.

In this enhanced color view we see erosion of the seasonal polar caps on Mars, which are made of carbon dioxide (a.k.a. dry ice). This erosion gives us "araneiform" terrain (various formations on the surface, such as "spiders," "caterpillars" and "starbursts."). (Which do you think is/are pictured here?)

Images from the HiRISE instrument and additional information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are available online at: and

What Scientists/Engineers Say About This Image:

"At least for me, before MRO, Mars was red and dusty everywhere. Now, we have all these images of a diverse and active planet: beautiful rock formations, dunes, flow features (possible evidence for water just below the surface), glaciers, and erupted geyser-like features -- so-called "spiders" -- in the north."

--Steve Vance, Planetary Scientist/Astrobiologist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Last Update: 29 Feb 2012 (AMB)

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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Last Updated: 29 Feb 2012