Evidence for recent climate change on Mars as seen in High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) images
Ernst Hauber, DLR-Institut fuer Planetenforschung
Mars Express is the first ESA mission to another planet. It carries six scientific instruments, including the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). This unique stereo camera provides high-resolution images in stereo and color, covering up to 3 × 106 km2 in one imaging sequence. After more than three years in orbit around Mars, the instrument has covered ~70% of the total surface area in March 2007. The images allow to investigate a wide variety of surface features, improving our understanding of both endogenic processes like volcanism and tectonism as well as exogenic processes like fluvial and glacial erosion and sedimentation. Of particular interest to the current emphasis in Mars research, which is on the climatic evolution of the planet, are images of young periglacial and glacial features. HRSC showed that such landforms are more widespread than previously thought, indicating recent climatic conditions favourable to the existence of surface ice even at low latitudes, were ice it physically not stable today.
Further reading: Neukum et al., ESA SP-1240 17-35 (2004); Hauber et al., Nature 434, 356-361 (2005); Van Gasselt et al., J. Geophys. Res. (in press, 2007); Morgenstern et al., J. Geophys. Res. (in press, 2007); Hauber et al., J. Geophys. Res. (in review, 2007).
HRSC in the WWW: dlr.de/mars