Mars More Environmentally Active than Expected

A year’s worth of observations by NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft paint a new picture of a more dynamic Martian surface than expected, coupled with what seems to be a changing environment. Preliminary analysis of data from Odyssey’s Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) show that different layers of the planet, including some lava flows, must have been deposited under varying environmental conditions through time. Further, the red planet’s surface bedrock varies significantly in thickness, the data reveal. It is exposed in some spots, and in other regions it’s buried for thousands of square miles by thick layers of dust.