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September 6 2012

Mars's Dramatic Climate Variations Are Driven by the Sun


On Mars's poles there are ice caps of ice and dust with layers that reflect to past climate variations on Mars. Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have related the layers in the ice cap on Mars's north pole to variations in solar insolation on Mars, thus established the first dated climate history for Mars, where ice and dust accumulation has been driven by variations in insolation.

The ice caps on Mars's poles are kilometres thick and composed of ice and dust. There are layers in the ice caps, which can be seen in cliffs and valley slopes and we have known about these layers for decades, since the first satellite images came back from Mars. The layers are believed to reflect past climate on Mars, in the same way that Earth's climate history can be read by analysing ice cores from the ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica.

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