The Mystery of Mars’ Invisible Frost Revealed - Study

© NASAA layer of carbon dioxide frost (dry ice), formed on the surface of Mars
A layer of carbon dioxide frost (dry ice), formed on the surface of Mars - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2022
Despite the presence of the corresponding infrared radiation, it’s impossible to see a layer of white-blue frost on Mars with a conventional telescope. The phenomenon has baffled scientists until new research unexpectedly helped to solve another of the Red Planet’s secrets.
Scientists have discovered why the frost on Mars’ surface cannot be seen with the naked eye and what causes the planet's kilometer-long landslides.
The study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, used data from the NASA Mars Odyssey, equipped with an infrared camera. It enabled researches to see that the planet is covered in the morning with a thin layer of dry ice, which instantly evaporates due to sudden changes in temperature.
Mars - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.04.2022
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Earlier, astrophysicists assumed that there could be ordinary ice under the examined areas, but later came to the conclusion that at the equator, unlike the poles of Mars, so-called dirty frost is formed – dry ice frost mixed with fine grains of dust that masked it in visible light but not in infrared images.
This conclusion led the research team to another idea: the many kilometers of dust avalanches along the Martian slopes, which create long black shadows, bewildering observers, are caused by the rapid evaporation of dry ice and, as a result, loosening of the soil. The theory was confirmed after scientists compared maps of landslides to the location of places with morning frosts.
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