Image: Martian sand dunes in spring

Mar 07, 2014
Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —Mars' northern-most sand dunes are beginning to emerge from their winter cover of seasonal carbon dioxide (dry) ice. Dark, bare south-facing slopes are soaking up the warmth of the sun.

The steep lee sides of the dunes are also ice-free along the crest, allowing sand to slide down the dune.

Dark splotches are places where ice cracked earlier in spring, releasing sand. Soon the dunes will be completely bare and all signs of spring activity will be gone.

This image was acquired by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 16, 2014.

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clouds get in the way on Mars

Mar 23, 2012

The science team from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter wanted to take another look at a region of icy sand dunes on Mars to look for seasonal changes as spring is now arriving on the Red ...

Marks on Martian dunes may be tracks of dry-ice sleds

Jun 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA research indicates hunks of frozen carbon dioxide—dry ice—may glide down some Martian sand dunes on cushions of gas similar to miniature hovercraft, plowing furrows as they go.

Winds drive dune movement on Mars

Nov 16, 2011

Sand dunes, a common feature on the surface of Mars, can provide a record of recent and past changes. Some dunes near Mars’ polar areas have been observed to move recently due to carbon dioxide ice sublimation, ...

A dark and dusty avalanche on Mars

Nov 06, 2013

Mars may be geologically inactive but that doesn't mean there's nothing happening there—seasonal changes on the Red Planet can have some very dramatic effects on the landscape, as this recent image from ...

Recommended for you

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

30 minutes ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

45 minutes ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Four Galileo satellites at ESA test centre

1 hour ago

ESA engineers unwrapped a welcome Christmas present: the latest Galileo satellite. The navigation satellite will undergo a full checkout in Europe's largest satellite test facility to prove its readiness ...

Funding challenges for Orion and SLS

1 hour ago

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress, which exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve ...

User comments : 0

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.