Rugged rock, naturally carved gullies and even a dusting of frost. This could almost be a satellite of a particularly remote part of Earth—but in fact you’re looking at the surface of Mars.

If you were, somehow, there, the biggest giveaway might be that the frost isn’t actually ice, but frozen carbon dioxide. At high enough latitudes on Mars it’s cold enough for dry ice to form, at least during parts of the Martian year. In this picture, though, the light dusting of white frost does a nice job of picking out the detail of the gullies, making it easier for us to see them.


The image was captured by NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.


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