NASA Captures Amazing Image of a Huge Avalanche on Mars

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The avalanche was caused by melting ice. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA has managed to capture an amazing image of an avalanche on Mars, caused by a huge ice block falling 1,640-feet down a cliff face on the Red Planet’s north pole.

The extremely rare sight, which happened back in May, was caught on camera by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Experts think increased sunlight on Mars had caused one of its glaciers to melt. Candy Hansen, from the University of Arizona, said:

“Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilises the ice and blocks break loose. When they reach the bottom of the more than 500 meter tall cliff face.”

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Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

A similar avalanche has been captured on Mars previously but it was caused by a meteorite strike and not just warming weather.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which first launched in 2005, has instruments that conduct daily weather reports as well as analyzing minerals and looking for water. Previous missions have shown that water once flowed on the surface of Mars.

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