Mars - Viking 2 Lander

Ice Frost at Utopia Planitia on Mars

This image, taken by Viking 2 Lander camera 2 at Utopia Planitia, shows a thin layer of water ice frost on the martian surface. The image was taken on 18 May 1979, almost exactly one martian year (687 days) after frost first appeared at this spot and was imaged by Viking 2. The layer is thought to be only a couple 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 southeast, the dark boulder at left is roughly one meter across. (Viking 2 Lander, P-21841)
Larger image (140K)

High resolution tiff file (555K)

Location & Time Information
Date/Time (UT): 1979-05-18
Distance/Range (km): .001
Central Latitude/Longitude (deg): +44.57, 225.74
Orbit(s): lander

Imaging Information
Area or Feature Type: lander image, surface, rock
Instrument: Viking lander camera 2
Instrument Resolution (pixels): 512 (vertical), 6 bit
Instrument Field of View (deg): 100 x 0.12 (single scan), 100 x 342.5 (max.)
Filter: clear
Illumination Incidence Angle (deg): N/A
Phase Angle (deg): N/A
Instrument Look Direction: N/A
Surface Emission Angle (deg): N/A

Ordering Information
CD-ROM Volume: N/A
NASA Image ID number: P-21841
Other Image ID number: N/A
NSSDC Data Set ID (Photo): 75-083C-06F
NSSDC Data Set ID (CD): N/A
Other ID: N/A


[NASA Logo] Authors/Curators:

Dave Williams,, (301) 286-1258
Code 690.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Jay Friedlander,, (301) 286-7172
Code 612.4, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck,

Last updated: 24 September 2015