Stunning Photos Of Mars Look Like Abstract Art (NEW BOOK)
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
The immediate success of Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" proves our ongoing captivation with the visualization of nearby worlds, and of our world from a different vantage point. Images of outer space can be breathtaking, and the mystery of unknown worlds can be awe-inspiring.
Audaciously called Inca City because of its rectangular, geometric shapes evoking vestiges of habitats, these terrains have nothing reminiscent of a city or of the Inca. Their size—several kilometers—is the best proof of that. The nature of this polygonal network, unique on Mars, remains poorly understood, but seems to be linked to volcanic dykes covered by eolian sand. These terrains are close to the South pole and undergo springtime defrosting in dark patches that become progressively larger as temperatures climb.
The sedimentary strata are mostly composed here of ice from water and not carbonic ice. The fractures that traverse these strata come from strong, seasonal thermal variations that can reach close to 100° C (212° F).
The zones at lower latitudes (between 40° and 60°) contain very large proportions of ice, notably in the form of glaciers. In the present case, the glacier ﬂows toward the lower-left part of the image—as the nearly parallel lines, all running in the same direction, indicate. A detailed viewing allows even smaller lines perpendicular to this direction to be perceived. These are fractures or crevasses similar to the crevasses that are formed on the glaciers of the Alps, notably when the glacier rolls down the sides of the reliefs.
The dark traces that converge come from a multitude of fractures are linked to the sublmation of a layer of carbonic ice. This forms geysers because the evaporation of ice proceeds more rapidly beneath the thin layer of ice.
Hundreds of black-sand dunes of basaltic composition have accumulated on the ﬂoor of the Proctor crater. In winter, because of
the relatively high latitude (47° south), these dunes are covered by frost and carbonic ice, in particular on the polar ﬂanks deprived of sunlight, thus creating a sharp contrast in tone.
A labyrinth of canyons hollowed out by outﬂows on a volcanic plateau near the Elysium Mons volcano. During a volcanic action that traverses a region containing ice, albeit subterraneously, a chain of processes is set off from explosions called phréatogmatiques or lahars, those muddy or doughy outpours that, on Earth, ﬂow down snow-covered volcanoes. The nature of these outﬂows, at the same time muddy, rocky, and ﬂuid, is not precisely known, but these have probably been brief and are not directly connected to climatic conditions. The volcanismon Marsis a source of heat that can explain the local presence of liquid water in a climate that remains very cold.
The terrains of carbonic ice of the southern vault have been eroded, leaving circular depression, by sublimation—except when the terrains are heterogeneous and inclined, in which case arabesques of small cliffs are formed. The orientation of the terrains, had they been moderately inclined in relation to the pale Sun, low on the horizon at the poles, isin fact fundamental to this process.