Summer has arrived in the southern hemisphere of Mars, and satellites have noticed strange structures and shapes on the melted ice. The European Space Agency (ESA) has released images of the recently thawed pole.
The image shows dust storms, also called “Martian dust devils.” They form when warm air suddenly rises through a column of cold air, thereby creating a rotating updraft. Unlike Earth, these dusty cyclones can be up to 10 km high. Traces of one such cyclone are visible in the dark area to the left of the image.
The steep sloping walls of the impact crater can also be replaced in the image. According to ESA, the feature is the product of a collision of a meteorite that cut deep into the crust of Mars, cratering and exposing layers of ancient sediment below.
This image contains data collected by ESA’s Mars Express with a High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on November 8, 2020 (Orbit 21305). The terrain resolution is approximately 15m / pixel, and the image is centered at approximately 148 ° E / 78 ° S.
The blue and purple areas show low elevations on the topographic map below, and the red, yellow, and white areas show higher elevations.