Photo from NASA Mars orbiter shows wind's handiwork

January 26, 2012
This enhanced-color image shows sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in Noachis Terra, Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

( -- Some images of stark Martian landscapes provide visual appeal beyond their science value, including a recent scene of wind-sculpted features from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The scene shows dunes and of various shapes and sizes inside an impact crater in the Noachis Terra region of southern Mars. Patterns of dune erosion and deposition provide insight into the sedimentary history of the area.

The has been examining Mars with six science instruments since 2006. Now in an extended mission, the orbiter continues to provide insights about the planet's ancient environments and about how processes such as wind, and seasonal frosts are continuing to affect the Martian surface today. This mission has returned more data about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.

More than 20,600 images taken by HiRISE are available for viewing on the instrument team's website: . Each observation by this telescopic camera covers several square miles, or square kilometers, and can reveal features as small as a desk.

HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Explore further: Thousands of New Images Show Mars in High Resolution

More information: For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, see .

Related Stories

Thousands of New Images Show Mars in High Resolution

September 3, 2009

Thousands of newly released images from more than 1,500 telescopic observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a wide range of gullies, dunes, craters, geological layering and other features on the Red Planet. ...

Hundreds of New Views from Telescope Orbiting Mars

August 4, 2010

( -- The most powerful telescopic camera ever to orbit Mars reveals a fresh crater, an ice mound, climate-recording layers and many other views in 314 newly released observations.

Pits, flows, other scenes in new set of Mars images

December 2, 2010

Newly released images from 340 recent observations of Mars by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show details of a wide assortment of Martian environments.

Orbiter resumes use of camera

September 9, 2011

( -- Operators of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are resuming use of the mission's highest resolution camera following a second precautionary shutdown in two weeks.

Recommended for you

Orbiter views Mars surface fractures

October 8, 2015

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter often takes images of Martian sand dunes to study the mobile soils. These images provide information about erosion and ...

NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

October 7, 2015

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the ...

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 26, 2012
Surely we all see the houses on the right side!!

Seriously tho, shouldn't these be more like dust dunes than sand dunes given the tenuous atmosphere?
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2012
Perhaps you've forgotten about the reduced gravity or super-fast wind speeds...
not rated yet Jan 27, 2012
Yep. Ty.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.