Dunes of Sand: Resumed Mars Orbiter Observations Yield Stunning Views

Jan 14, 2010
Dunes of sand-sized materials have been trapped on the floors of many Martian craters. This is one example, from a crater in Noachis Terra, west of the giant Hellas impact basin. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

(PhysOrg.com) -- Dunes of sand-sized materials have been trapped on the floors of many Martian craters. This view shows dunes inside a crater in Noachis Terra, west of the giant Hellas impact basin in Mars' southern hemisphere.

The (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this view on Dec. 28, 2009. The orbiter resumed making observations in mid-December following a three-month hiatus.

A set of new images from the HiRISE camera is on the camera team's site, at hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/nea.php .

The dunes here are linear, thought to be due to shifting wind directions. In places, each dune is remarkably similar to adjacent dunes, including a reddish (or dust-colored) band on northeast-facing slopes. Large angular boulders litter the floor between dunes.

The most extensive linear dune fields known in the are on Saturn's large . Titan has a very different environment and composition, so at meter-scale resolution they probably are very different from Martian dunes.

Explore further: Zapping away space junk

Related Stories

Dazzling Dunes on Mars

Aug 10, 2004

As NASA's Opportunity rover creeps farther into "Endurance Crater," the dune field on the crater floor appears even more dramatic. On the left, an approximate true-color image highlights the reddish-colored ...

Thousands of New Images Show Mars in High Resolution

Sep 03, 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 ...

New Views of Martian Moon and Surface

Mar 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New images from two observations of the Martian moon Deimos and more than 600 observations of Mars, acquired by the high-resolution camera (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, became ...

Recommended for you

Zapping away space junk

7 minutes ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

1 hour ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

Sentinel-2A arrives in French Guiana for 12 June launch

2 hours ago

The latest satellite for the European Commission's environmental Copernicus programme has arrived safe and sound in French Guiana for launch on 12 June. Carrying a multispectral imager, Sentinel-2A is set ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2010
What are the brown "streams" in the valleys between the dunes? It looks like those "gussets", found all over the planet, pass right through the "streams".

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.