Jun 07, 2017 03:09 PM EDT
Mars latest photo is once again taking the limelight in the online news as of late. The amazing image reveals traces of ice and carbon dioxide found in a certain area of the planet. And it appears that the location suggests it could be the south pole region of the Red Planet. Could this be all true?
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and second smallest planet in the Solar System. It got its name from the Roman god of war and it is frequently called the "Red Planet" due to its reddish appearance because of the iron oxide covering its surface. For the past years, it has been the focus of the studies for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA has sent numerous space and land exploration to Mars for the past years such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Curiosity Rover. It has revealed many things about the Red Planet such as the presence of water, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur -- all are key elements to support life. Several mountains, rock formation, deserts and polar ice caps have been discovered as well.
Now, recent images of Mars reveals something new about its polar ice cap after it was discovered 13 years ago. According to Space.com, a newly released photo provides a remarkable image of Mars' mysterious south pole region. The image was captured by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft showing a swirling white dot at the bottom part of the photo.
The image already circulated last month but it was actually taken by the Mars Express last Feb. 25. In fact, the photo was shot perfectly and unintentionally after the spacecraft came close to Mars at an altitude of about 186 miles, allowing to get a better view of the South Pole region of the Red Planet.
With that, it captures the stunning image of rarely seen ice cap of frozen water and carbon dioxide according to Mail Online. Aside from the ice caps, the image also shows the highland area of Mars and part of the large Hellas basin region. The perfect position of the spacecraft to the Red Planet's orbit allows it to capture a wider view of the planet and also with the help of ideal light condition.
Mars south ice cap is called Planum Australe which is composed of frozen water and carbon dioxide and covered of about 1.9 miles thick. Data taken from Mars Express revealed that the ice cap is roughly 85 percent dry ice and 15 percent water ice. Other information on the captured image is still in the process of further assessment and examination by experts.
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