Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Utopia Planitia





Utopia Planitia
Utopia Planitia from Viking 2
A smooth plain on Mars situated northwest of the Elysium Planitia volcanoes and chosen as the landing site for Viking 2 in 1976. The image here, taken by Viking 2 Lander camera 2 on May 18,1979, shows a thin layer of water ice frost on Utopia Planitia. The layer is thought to be only about two thousandths of a centimeter thick. It is speculated that dust particles in the atmosphere pick up tiny bits of water. When it gets cold enough for carbon dioxide to solidify, some of it attaches to the dust and ice and it falls to the surface. The view is looking towards the south southeast; the long boulder to the right is roughly one meter across.


Related categories

   • MARS TOPICS
   • GEOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE