SEASONS AND CLIMATE ON MARS
Mars has seasons just like Earth though they last about twice as long because the Martian year is almost twice that of Earth. Mars axial tilt is 25.2 degrees which is also very close to the 23.5 of Earth.
When a Martian hemisphere is experiencing summer, the polar cap shrinks back and may even disappear from view altogether. At the same time the darker regions grow darker and change slightly from year to year. It was once thought that these markings were vegetation, but we now know they are windblown dust.
When winter ensues, the polar cap of that hemisphere grows and may expand into the middle latitudes. The ice sheets of the polar caps are mainly carbon dioxide ice, but it is believed that there may be some water ice trapped underneath those sheets closest to the pole itself.
Generally Mars is quite cold with lows that reach -140 C (-220 F) but occasionally there are days that are quite balms reaching 20C (68 F.) Because soil and rock absorb heat from the Sun, the surface would be slightly warmer. Frost that forms during the night would melt and be released as water vapor during the day.
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Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator
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