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Spring on Mars, Imaged by HiRISE

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Hansen (JPL)

Spring on Mars, Imaged by HiRISE

Every winter a substantial fraction of Mars’ CO2 atmosphere condenses in the polar regions.  In the spring, when the seasonal ice sublimes, it is an active process, reworking and redistributing surface material locally.  In the south polar region this erosional process is manifested as radially organized channels carved in the surface.  In the north polar regions dry mass wasting occurs on the dunes and avalanches take place at the residual polar cap scarp.  The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has imaged two southern and two northern spring seasons with unprecedented detail, color, and temporal coverage. The images give us new insight into seasonal activity on Mars.


Enceladus' Water Vapor Plume

Two stellar occultations observed by Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) in 2005 and 2007 in the far ultraviolet (FUV) channel gave the column density of water vapor in Enceladus' plume, structure of the vapor jets, and allowed us to derive the flux of water into Saturn’s system which ultimately supplies the neutral atomic oxygen that profoundly influences the processes in the magnetosphere. New results on plume composition and structure from the solar occultation observed in May 2010 will be described.

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