enormous ice collapse at Mars' north pole.
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Climactic footage of Arctic ice plummeting into the sea has
routinely shocked viewers in recent years.
However, the phenomenon
appears not to be confined to Earth, as NASA has captured evidence
Mars' polar ice cap collapsing.
The US space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
has been spinning around the Red Planet since 2006. Its vantage
point hundreds of kilometers above the surface allows it to witness
dramatic natural processes unfolding below.
© NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Remarkable, freshly released images show a radical landscape change
at the planet's north pole, following a polar ice cap collapse.
HiRise camera team created a
striking before-and-after GIF showing a "field of ice blocks" that
were left behind in the wake of the stunning planetary redecorating.
"The steep edge of
the north polar cap is falling apart," planetary geologist
Alfred McEwen explained.
"This animation shows
where a section of the slope at right has collapsed since three
Mars years ago and deposited a field of ice blocks."
Artist's rendering of the
A Mars year lasts almost 1.88 Earth-years, so the original image was
snapped over 5.5 years ago.
The orbiter captured the
second image on December 25, 2019 and released the powerful
comparison on Friday.
Equipped with one of the largest and most powerful cameras ever sent
into space, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent back 371
terabits of data on Mars' alien surface.