Close-up of a Martian valley

Chasma Boreale on Mars

A side-on view of the Chasma Boreale valley in Mars' northern ice cap.

CHASMA BOREALE IS A LONG, flat-floored valley that cuts deep into Mars’ north polar icecap. Its walls rise about 1,400 metres above the floor.

Where the edge of the ice cap has retreated, sheets of sand are emerging that accumulated during earlier ice-free climatic cycles. Winds blowing off the ice have pushed loose sand into dunes and driven them down-canyon in a westward direction.

This scene combines images taken during the period from December 2002 to February 2005 by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on NASA’s Mars Odyssey. It has been released as part of a special series of images marking the orbiter as the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history.

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Adapted from information issued by NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU.

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