The tantalizing prospect of a readable record of martian climatic variations has driven decades of work toward deciphering the stratigraphy of the martian polar layered deposits and understanding the role of the residual ice caps that cover them. Spacecraft over the past decade have provided a massive infusion of new data into Mars science. Polar science has benefited immensely due to the near-polar orbits of most of the orbiting missions and the successful landing of the Phoenix spacecraft in the northern high latitudes. Topographic, thermal, radar, hyperspectral, and high-resolution imaging data are among the datasets that have allowed characterization of the stratigraphy of the polar layered deposits in unprecedented detail. Additionally, change within the residual ice caps has been monitored with spacecraft instruments for several years. These new data have provided a golden opportunity to understand the interplay between the martian orbit, climate, and polar ice.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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