NASA image: Active dune field on Mars

May 05, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Nili Patera is one of the most active dune fields on Mars. As such, it is continuously monitored with the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera, a science instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with a new image acquired about every six weeks.

By monitoring the sand dune changes, we can determine how winds vary seasonally and year-to-year. This observation is one of the more recent Nili images, acquired on March 1, 2014. Compared to an image acquired on Nov. 22, 2012, changes are obvious. The ripples on the dunes have moved, as well some of the dune boundaries, such as the one at upper left. New landslides on the central dune's lee face are apparent.

Such changes, in just 16 months (and finer scale changes have been seen in just a couple of weeks), demonstrate the effectiveness of wind in modifying the Martian landscape.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Explore further: NASA Mars orbiter examines dramatic new crater

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Mars orbiter examines dramatic new crater

Feb 05, 2014

(Phys.org) —Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year, but few new Mars scars pack as much visual punch as one seen in a NASA image released today.

Mars orbiter images rover and tracks in Gale Crater

Jan 09, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and its recent tracks from driving in Gale Crater appear in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance ...

Image: Martian sand dunes in spring

Mar 07, 2014

(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.

Image: A whole new world for Curiosity

Aug 14, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This color-enhanced view -- taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the satellite flew overhead -- shows the terrain around ...

Photo from NASA Mars orbiter shows wind's handiwork

Jan 26, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

Recommended for you

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test

2 hours ago

After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and its sensitive instruments, ...

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

9 hours ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

How to safely enjoy the October 23 partial solar eclipse

9 hours ago

2014 – a year rich in eclipses. The Moon dutifully slid into Earth's shadow in April and October gifting us with two total lunars. Now it's the Sun's turn. This Thursday October 23 skywatchers across much ...

How to grip an asteroid

10 hours ago

For someone like Edward Fouad, a junior at Caltech who has always been interested in robotics and mechanical engineering, it was an ideal project: help develop robotic technology that could one day fly on ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

FineStructureConstant
1 / 5 (2) May 05, 2014
By monitoring the sand dune changes, we can determine how winds vary seasonally and year-to-year
. We??? who is/are WE?? - surely you mean: "By monitoring the sand dune changes, the seasonal and yearly changes in the winds may be determined."

This observation (errrm, which one? Where?) is one of the more recent Nili images
- you surely mean: "The image reproduced above is one of the more recent of the images obtained of the Nili Patera region."

it is continuously monitored with the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera, a science instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with a new image acquired about every six weeks./
- continuously? - every six weeks?? Surely you mean REGULARLY, not CONTINUOUSLY.

This sort of sloppy reporting does no credit at all to phys.org and crops up far too regularly, IMHO. Sack your copy-writers and hire me - I spikka di English, don't you know...
dramamoose
1 / 5 (1) May 05, 2014
This article was provided directly by NASA; read the bottom. Don't crucify Phys because a bunch of brilliant engineers write awkwardly.
HTK
not rated yet May 05, 2014
LOL
HTK
not rated yet May 05, 2014
LOL

This observation (errrm, which one? Where?) is one of the more recent Nili images
- you surely mean: "The image reproduced above is one of the more recent of the images obtained of the Nili Patera region."