Nasa reveals spectacular photo of avalanche on Mars

Dramatic effect can happen every spring

Andrew Griffin
Monday 09 September 2019 20:44

Nasa has revealed stunning pictures of the aftermath of a huge avalance on Mars.

The event was seen near the red planet's north pole, where it was spotted by Nasa's HiRISE instrument.

That camera – which has the full name High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment – is mounted on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that is floating above the planet, taking images of the surface.

As it did so, it spotted the aftermath of the avalanche, spilt in red and white across the surface.

Avalanches happen on the planet when it goes through its spring. As the sun shines on the icy layers at Mars's north pole, it gets heated up. The layered piles then become destabilised and blocks can fall off.

They will then tumble down the cliff face, kicking up dust when they hit the bottom. Those different colours and textures that can be seen in the photo depend on how much dust has mixed with the ice, wrote planetary scientist Candy Hansen, who works on the seasonal behaviours of other planets.

Though Nasa published the picture this week, it was actually taken back in May.

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