North Polar Region of Mars: Imaging Results from Viking 2

Science  17 Dec 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4271, pp. 1329-1337
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4271.1329


During October 1976, the Viking 2 orbiter acquired approximately 700 high-resolution images of the north polar region of Mars. These images confirm the existence at the north pole of extensive layered deposits largely covered over with deposits of perennial ice. An unconformity within the layered deposits suggests a complex history of climate change during their time of deposition. A pole-girdling accumulation of dunes composed of very dark materials is revealed for the first time by the Viking cameras. The entire region is devoid of fresh impact craters. Rapid rates of erosion or deposition are implied. A scenario for polar geological evolution, involving two types of climate change, is proposed.