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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Images From Hubble Telescope Show Chaotic Weather on Mars

May 22, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

New images of Mars taken last March by the Hubble Space Telescope strengthen the view that the planet's weather is much more chaotic, complex and unpredictable than the portrait painted by the last expeditions there in the 1970s, which saw mostly fearsome global dust storms and apricot-colored skies. Overall, the new images show that Mars is colder, cloudier and more unpleasant than astronomers once believed.

One of the images, taken from a distance of 62 million miles, also shows the dramatic seasonal waxing and waning of Mars' northern polar ice cap and reveals that windblown dust has obliterated some features of the surface thought to be permanent. The images were taken in October 1996 and January and March of this year.

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