This image acquired on August 17, 2020 by NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows Martian scallops. As the ice ablates away in some spots the surface dust collapses into the hole thats left.

March 22, 2021

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About a third of Mars has water ice just below the dusty surface. Figuring out exactly where is vital for future human explorers. One of the ways scientists do this is to look for landforms that only occur when this buried ice is present. These scallops are one of those diagnostic landforms.

A layer of clean ice lies just below the surface in this image. As the ice ablates away in some spots the surface dust collapses into the hole that's left. These holes grow into the scallops visible here as more and more ice is lost.

Between the scallops, the ice is still there, ready for some astronaut to come along and dig it up.

The map is projected here at a scale of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 24.8 centimeters [9.8 inches] per pixel [with 1 x 1 binning]; objects on the order of 75 centimeters [30.0 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.

The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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