top of page

Frosty Beauty of Winter on Mars

Late winter has arrived on Mars’s Northern Hemisphere, and NASA recently released images of the season captured by its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The frosty scenes are a foreign-yet-familiar display of beauty.

Like Earth, the Red Planet experiences snow and frost and is home to water ice. So, in a way, its winters look like ours. But that’s about where the resemblance stops.

In a Martian winter, the planet’s average temperature - already a frozen minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit - plunges to 190 below. In this bone-chilling weather, the Red Planet also hosts a second kind of ice made from carbon dioxide, known as dry ice.

Mars's south pole
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Year-round ice at Mars's south pole contrasts from the colored walls of flat-floored pits. The smallest of these pits, at the center, is the size of a stadium on Earth.

Dry ice on Mars
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The freezing of water ice and sublimation of dry ice create these patterns on Mars's ground. Geysers of sun-warmed gas and dust are shown in blue in this enhanced-color image.

Frost-capped sand dunes on Mars
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Frost-capped sand dunes near Mars's north pole, captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter two days after the planet's winter solstice.

Martian dunes covered with carbon dioxide frost and ice
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

These "megadunes," or barchans, are covered with carbon dioxide frost and ice. Sublimating ice reveals areas of darker sand.

More photography collections...

Today's Articles

Hilarious Signs: While some people are looking for a sign from God, and others for infinite wisdom, some people just want a good laugh...

Self-Repairing Concrete: Ancient Roman tech puts modern buildings to shame. Today’s concrete structures only last a few decades; concrete in Rome has survived for 2,000 years. How so?

Act of Kindness: Uber driver donates kidney to his passenger and saves his life.

Sunny Outlook: 2022 - The year the European Solar Age truly started.

From the Archives: Eating habits that you can easily incorporate into every day life to lower heart disease risk. Top Tips...

More Good News Articles: Handful of the most popular recent OGN stories (and most watched video), just in case you missed any.

Today's Videos

bottom of page