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Here's why you shouldn't stand at the base of a Martian cliff in spring

9 Sep 2019, 13:00 UTC
Here's why you shouldn't stand at the base of a Martian cliff in spring NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The north pole of Mars has an ice cap with some complex features. There's a relatively permanent deposit (called a basal unit) of sand and dust embedded in water ice that's a kilometer or so thick. On top of that is the polar layered deposit, which is what it sounds like: Zillions of layers of ice with some dust mixed in, probably deposited seasonally layer-by-layer. There's also a thin layer of carbon dioxide ice that gets deposited every winter and which sublimates (turns directly to gas) every spring and summer.

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