August 15, 2022

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Polygonal structures on Mars.  You can see them from many kilometers away

Polygonal structures on Mars. You can see them from many kilometers away

Using the HIRISE system aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have observed unusual objects visible on the Red Planet.

The image below was taken on March 30 of this year and shows a mosaic of white polygons of various shapes. They can be seen from white cracks on the soil of Mars and appeared at high latitudes.

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You can also see black and blue “fog” in places, which occurs when subsurface ice comes into contact with the warmer spring surface of Mars. This ice plays a major role in the formation of the distinct polygonal structures. In the spring, it turns into a gas in the process of sublimation, which leads to the phenomenon of cracking the surface of the Red Planet.

When the particles take the form of ice again, shiny traces form, which we see as white and blue haze. Ice can escape from the same places multiple times, spraying particles in different directions, depending on the wind. This is why in some areas you can see several different lines coming out of the same hole.

The image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

As for the durability of these structures, they happen to last for many years, slowly marring the landscape on Mars. This is clearly related to the expansion and contraction of the ice with the change of seasons. The capture of this unusual phenomenon was made possible thanks to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Probe mission, equipped with the HIRISE instrument, ie. HD photography experience.

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This probe orbits the red planet at an altitude of between 250 and 315 kilometers. Its mission began in 2006, and since then the MRO instruments have provided several relevant images that scientists can use to better understand the processes occurring on the fourth planet than the Sun.