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New Mars photos show off frozen dunes and an avalanche. See the pictures here

The photo snaps a glimpse of the ground in the planet’s north pole region.

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter caught a funky photo of Mars’ iced sand dunes that’s worth a glance.
The European Space Agency and Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter caught a funky photo of Mars’ iced sand dunes that’s worth a glance.
European Space Agency

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter caught a funky photo of Mars’ iced sand dunes that’s worth a glance.

The photo snaps a glimpse of the ground in the planet’s north pole region.

The photo shows “a squiggly collection of dunes with darker patches showing through. It looks like a close-up of cookies-and-cream ice cream,” according to CNET.

What makes those squiggly formations? Well, the photo snapped the picture in late May. During that time, carbon dioxide ice covers that area of Mars. In spring, the ice turns to vapor.

“As the ice cracks, this gas is released violently and carries sand with it, forming the dark patches and streaks observed in this CaSSIS image,” said ESA in a release on Monday.

A separate photo from NASA showed an avalanche on Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed red dirt soaring into the sky near the north pole, too, according to Space.com.

“Every spring, the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the north pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice, and blocks break loose,” NASA officials wrote in a description of the MRO image.

The photo dropped Sept. 11.

“When they reach the bottom of the more than 500-meter-tall (1,650 feet) cliff face, the blocks kick up a cloud of dust,” NASA officials added. “The layers beneath are different colors and textures depending on the amount of dust mixed with ice.”