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article imageScientists Treated With Views Of Mars Avalanches

By KJ Mullins     Mar 4, 2008 in Science
Images sent back of active avalanches from the red planet are exciting scientists. Scientists aren't sure if this is an annual spring event or a once in a lifetime sighting. The avalanches stem from Mars' North Pole.
There have been at least four avalanches spotted by the Orbiter.
Images taken last month show ice and dust breaking off from a steep cliff and settling below on the slopes. Massive debris clouds measuring over 590 feet across have been reported as a result of the avalanches.
The photos were obtained by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which arrived on the planet in 2006. The overall landscape of Mars has not changed very much in millions of years. The recent activity was a rare treat for scientists that are observing the data returning from the Orbiter.
"We were checking for springtime changes in the carbon-dioxide frost covering a dune field and finding the avalanches was completely serendipitous," Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Candice Hansen said in a statement.
More about Mars, Avalaches, North pole
 

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