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It's Late Spring on Mars, and the Frost Hasn't Quite Melted Yet

Illustration for article titled Its Late Spring on Mars, and the Frost Hasnt Quite Melted Yet

Just expand this image a little bit and you'll see amazing detail — that's frost forming on ripples of sand, its distinctive wrinkly appearance created by wind whipping along this slope on the inside of a Martian crater.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This image was captured last month by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and shows a south-facing area inside the crater that's "approximately 1.5 by 3 kilometers." MRO researchers explain:

At this time of year only south-facing slopes retain the frost, while the north-facing slopes have melted. Gullies are not the only active geologic process going on here. A small crater is visible at the bottom of the slope.

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Learn more about HiRISE on the official website.

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It's only spring on half of Mars.