Orbit affects climate on Mars similar to the way it affects climate on Earth, say three scientists, who used a model of climate change on Earth to explain the layers of deposits in the polar regions of the Red Planet.
An image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the full disk of Mars. Clouds and weather can be seen at the poles. [Image: NASA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA) Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 STScl-PRC01-24].
This image, from an exposure of layers in the North Pole of Mars, is the actual image used in the analysis. Mustard and his colleagues say the alternating bright and dark bands are due to changes in climate recorded in these layers. The image is of an area about a mile across. [Image: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems].
Their study appears in the Sept. 26 issue of Nature, and suggests that a climate change theory for Earth can also be applied to Mars and possibly to other Earth-like planets.
“The orbital theory of climate change has been successful in explaining changes in the Earths climate, and we have used cores of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps to reconstruct past climates and atmospheres on Earth,” said author Jack Mustard, associate professor of geological sciences at Brown University. “This means that we can now use the Mars caps in a similar way.”
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