Mars - Active and Icy
Mars has long been thought to be currently cold, dry and geologically dead. However, high-resolution images, especially those from the HiRISE camera, have shown the martian surface to be unexpectedly active. Dunes are on the move, marching over the martian landscape at the same time that gullies are being formed on their slopes by some mysterious wintertime process. Avalanches of snow and frost in the polar regions are common in certain seasons where icy landforms also evolve in shape and size from year to year. Most recently, HiRISE has also observed dark streaks that lengthen downhill in the summer, probably caused by flow of liquid water. Focusing on the things that are active on Mars today, Dr. Byrne will provide a high-resolution tour of a planetary neighbor that looks more Earth-like than ever before.