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Section 5

Snowy dunes on Mars.

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Over the winter, snow and ice cover Martian dunes…and unlike on Earth, this snow and ice is carbon dioxide… a.k.a. dry ice. When the Sun starts shining on it in the spring, the ice on the smooth surface of the dunes cracks and escaping gas carries dark sand out from the dune below, often creating beautiful patterns. On the rough surface between the dunes, frost is trapped behind small sheltered ridges. Seen by our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this image was taken over the Northern hemisphere of the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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