NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey missions have provided evidence of a relatively recent ice age on Mars. In contrast to Earth’s ice ages, a Martian ice age waxes when the poles warm, and water vapor is transported toward lower latitudes. Martian ice ages wane when the poles cool and lock water into polar icecaps. The “pacemakers” of ice ages on Mars appear to be much more extreme than the comparable drivers of climate change on Earth. Variations in the planet’s orbit and tilt produce remarkable changes in the distribution of water ice from Polar Regions down to latitudes equivalent to Houston or Egypt. Researchers, using NASA spacecraft data and analogies to Earth’s Antarctic Dry Valleys, report their findings in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.