NASA gives sneak peak at impressive frosted dunes on Mars (PHOTO)

© JPL / University of Arizona
A newly released image from NASA showing off the frosted sand dunes of Mars has been described by the space agency as “like frosting on a cake.”

Using enhanced coloring techniques, the image, which was captured in March over the planet’s southern hemisphere, highlights how sand dunes cover much of the area’s terrain while large boulders can be seen lying on the flat areas between the dunes.

With it being late winter in the southern hemisphere of Mars, NASA says there’s just enough sunlight reaching the dunes to cause the seasonal cover of carbon dioxide to begin to defrost. 

The purple spots visible are the result and indicate where pressurized carbon dioxide gas has escaped to the surface.

The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is operated by The University of Arizona, Tucson.

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