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Humans love to give fitting nicknames to formations out in space, whether it’s the Crab Nebula or the Penguin and the Egg galaxies. You can see exactly why the «Happy Face Crater» on Mars got its unofficial moniker. It seems to be quite pleased that it’s helping scientists track climate trends over time on the red planet.
The crater is located in the region of Mars’ south pole. That’s a frosty place, but it isn’t frozen in time. The landscape shifts in appearance, 인계동가라오케 as seen by the differences in images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2011 and 2020.
The difference is in the amount of frost covering the ground. «The ‘blobby’ features in the polar cap are due to the sun sublimating away the carbon dioxide into these round patterns,» wrote MRO HiRise camera team member Ross Beyer in a statement Thursday. «You can see how nine years of this thermal erosion have made the ‘mouth’ of the face larger.» Sublimation happens when a solid turns into a gas.