PerspectivePlanetary Science

Learning to Think Like Martians

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1694-1695
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090517

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Recent observations by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey spacecraft are providing a clearer understanding of polar processes on Mars. In her Perspective, Zuber reports from a recent conference where high spatial resolution visible and near-infrared images were presented. The images have revealed spectacular geological features formed in association with carbon dioxide (CO) that as yet defy explanation. Monitoring of the atmosphere and surface over a Mars year has revealed that previous understanding of martian polar processes was greatly oversimplified. Substantial progress is being made on characterizing the content of water ice in the shallow subsurface and in estimating the seasonal exchange of CObetween the surface and atmosphere.