Astrogeology Science Center

Side-by-side comparisons of TES data from 1998 and Viking IRTM from 1977, taken for approximately the current season on Mars
Side-by-side comparisons of TES data from 1998 and Viking IRTM from 1977, taken for approximately the current season on Mars
Lambert albedo (.3-3um) mosaics made from 11 days of data from April, 2001; the Martian mid-summer season
Lambert albedo (.3-3um) mosaics made from 11 days of data from April, 2001; the Martian mid-summer season
This is an artist's rendition of what the Cryptic region might look like if one was standing on the surface of the polar cap
This is an artist's rendition of what the Cryptic region might look like if one was standing on the surface of the polar cap

Why Study Ice on Mars?

On Earth, there’s a plethora of variables driving environmental change, from natural processes to the activities of humans. While Mars is most similar to Earth of all the known extraterrestrial worlds, its climate is still extremely different from our watery abode. The recent discovery of ice on the red planet’s surface has given us a new climate driver to study. Understanding the behavior and history of ice on Mars will give us an ever increasing understanding of our neighbor’s climate.

The Mars-Ice project is a joint project between the USGS Astrogeology Research Program (Flagstaff, AZ) and the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility (Tempe, AZ) to bring together a single resource for the exploration of martian ices. Much of this research is done at the USGS Flagstaff Science Center.

The North Pole

Like Earth, the polar regions are excellent areas to find ice. Click here to read more about research in the North Pole region on Mars.

The South Pole

There is a great deal of information on the South Pole thanks to the Mars Polar Lander. Click here to read about the data collected and subsequent research.

The Tharsis Region

The Tharsis region is located approximately between -30° to 60° latitude and 210° and 270° longitude. This area encompasses four major volcanoes: Olympus, Ascraeus, Pavonis, and Arsia Mons. Frost formation on the highest portions of these peaks make this area important in the study of Mars ice.

Tharsis Region