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Giant glaciers in the northern Martian mid-latitudes

Overview map

Giant glaciers in the northern Martian mid-latitudes
Click for original image.

It is time for two cool images! The picture to the right, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, was taken on May 10, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and is one of two glaciers imaged by MRO in May that are among a whole series of glaciers flowing down the south wall of the same mesa.

The red dot in the inset and on the overview map above marks the location of the picture to the right. The white dot marks the location of the May 27, 2023 picture, which can be seen here.

The unnamed 10,000-foot-high mesa from which these glaciers flow, located in the middle of the 2,000-mile-long northern mid-latitude strip I dub glacier glacier country, is about 41 miles long and 18 miles wide at its widest point. The glacier to the right falls about 6,000 feet in about four miles, making the grade steep, ranging from 15 to 23 degrees. That steepness explains the split in the glacier, as it flowed around a huge piece of higher bedrock in the middle of this descending hollow.

Both images provide further evidence of the dominance of glaciers in this mid-latitude region. While the glaciers are all covered with dust and debris to protect the ice, and are also thought at present to all be inactive, they also all suggest a very dynamic Martian geological and climate history, one that will likely come alive again as the planet’s rotational tilt naturally shifts back and forth from its present 25 degree tilt to 11 to 60 degrees.

The glaciers also show us again that Mars is not a dry desert, but above 30 degrees latitude it is an icy desert much like Antarctica. Colonists will have no trouble finding water.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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