Collection Artwork
Viking 2 View of Mars Ice
color photograph
NASA (Washington DC, established 1958)
image size: 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
paper size: 8 x 10 5/8 in.
frame size: 13 3/4 x 15 1/2 in.
The Jack Shear Collection of Photography at the Tang Teaching Museum
photographed at Utopia Planitia, Mars
Stamped in red ink, left margin, sideways: 79-40-19C[?]
Typed, verso: [NASA logo] NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION / HOUSTON, TEXAS 77058 / No copyright is asserted for this photograph. If a recognizable person appears in the photo, use for commercial purposes may / infringe a right of privacy or publicity. It may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee / of a commercial product, process or service, or used in any other manner that might mislead. / Accordingly, it is requested that if / this photograph is used in advertising and other commercial promotion, layout and copy be submitted to NASA prior to release. / COLOR / 18 MAY 1979 [large white space] S79-40190 / JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, PASADENA CALIFORNIA / VIKING 2 VIEW OF MARS ICE — This high-resolution color photo of the surface of / Mars was taken by Viking Lander 2 at its Utopia Planitia landing site on May 18, 1979, / and relayed to Earth by Orbiter 1 on June 7, 1979. It shows a thin coating of water ice / on the rocks and soil. The time the frost appeared corresponds almost exactly with the / buildup of front one Martian year (23 Earth months) ago. Then it remained on the / surface for about 100 days. Scientists believe dust particles in the atmosphere pick up / bits of solid water. That combination is not heavy enough to settle to the ground. But / carbon dioxide, which makes up 95 percent of the Martian atmosphere, freezes and / adheres to the particles and they become heavy enough to sink. Warmed by the Sun, / the surface evaporates the carbon dioxide and returns it to the atmosphere, leaving / behind the water and dust. The ice seen in this picture, like that which formed one Martian year ago is extremely thin, perhaps no more than one-thousandth of an inch thick. / PHOTO CREDIT: NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.
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