Layered Ice Near the South Pole of Mars

The two largest ice sheets in the inner solar system are here on Earth, Antarctica and Greenland. The third largest is at the South Pole of Mars a small part of it is shown here.

Much like the terrestrial examples, this ice sheet is layered and scientists refer to it as the South Polar layered deposits. The ice layers contain information about past climates on Mars and deciphering this record has been a major goal of Mars science for decades. This slope, near the ice sheet’s edge, shows the internal layers that have this climate record.

With stereo images, we can tell the heights of these layers so we can measure their thickness and try to unravel the climatic information they contain. (Be sure to view the digital terrain model for this observation .)

Written by: Shane Byrne (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (11 December 2017)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024025_1005 .

More info and image formats at

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona