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An image recently published by one of my favorite blogs, Astronomy Picture of the Day, made me realize that our planet earth posses perhaps one of the dullest looking poles of the solar system. Just a white, irregular and featureless patch of snow and ice. In comparison, this is what the north pole of Mars looks like.


The latte-like spirals around the pole are frozen carbon dioxide that precipitates out of the thin Martian atmosphere every winter and is deposited over the frozen pole cap made up of water-ice. The carbon dioxide layer is about a meter thick. The spiral troughs in the layer are formed by strong katabatic winds that swirl around the pole due to the planet’s rotation. This image is a mosaic generated earlier this year from numerous images taken by the ESA’s and NASA’s missions, and covers an area of around a million square kilometers.

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.


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