The Details Are In The Dunes

And what details! This image, acquired by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 24, 2014, shows rippled dunes in Mars’ southern hemisphere, coated with a fall dusting of seasonal carbon dioxide frost. With the Sun just five degrees above the horizon, the surface detail captured by HiRISE is simply exquisite. Be…

Beautiful Barchans

Barchan sand dunes in Mars’ Arkhangelsky Crater This image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera features a barchan dune within the floor of Arkhangelsky Crater on Mars, one of its forward-facing “horns” displaying a sharp, serpentine ridge. The dunes in Arkhangelsky Crater are made of darker-colored material than the surrounding landscape, although the image…

Ditches, Devils and Dunes

  There’s a lot going on in this image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera…swirling dust devil tracks paint dark streaks over the sand dunes within Russell Crater (click here for a larger view of the region) while long “peculiar” ditches run snakelike down the crater’s sloped walls. Click the image above for a…

March of the Barchans

Shaped like huge shark teeth, barchan sand dunes coat the floor of Herschel Crater in this false-color image from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (See the full-sized map-projected image here.) Barchan dunes (pronounced “barkan”) are found in many places on Mars as well as on Earth. They are formed by the pile-up…

Crater in Chaos

Here’s an intriguing image of a dune-filled crater on the edge of a plateau on Mars, taken by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on April 27, 2010. The heavily-eroded face of the plateau is the result of millennia of wind erosion, which most likely provided the source of the material which has…

Flight Over Candor Chasma

If you could climb into a helicopter and fly over a valley on Mars, what would it look like? Well (regardless of the fact that a helicopter probably wouldn’t work very well in the thin Martian air) it would probably be a lot like this – a beautiful animation sequence created by Adrian Lark showing…

Diagonal Dunes

Symmetrical dune ridges line up within the basin of a Martian crater in this HiRISE image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, taken on December 28, 2009. Rocks and boulders line the crater floor between them. With the MRO’s computers now back online observation of the Martian surface can resume in full effect, providing us with…

Southern Dunes

  Here’s an exceptionally beautiful image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing rippling dunes within a crater on Mars’ southern hemisphere. The way the dunes are lit reminds me of a Salvador Dali painting, the central area reminiscent of the lower part of a human face. The brightest areas are…

Can’t Catch Me!

Windswept Martian dunes create a somewhat humanoid, running gingerbread-man figure in this image from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The dunes reside within a crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars. This week, the University of Arizona released thousands of new images from their HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) observations, taken…

Shifting Sands

Serpentine dunes etch the polar sands of Mars in this image from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. See the original release here. The MRO was 194 miles above the surface when it took this photo. Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Intersection

  The sinuous knife edge of three dune ridges connect in this photo from the HiRISE camera aboard the MRO. Click for a higher resolution version…the texture of the surface sand becomes more visible. Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dark Dunes

  Dark-colored sand dunes mark the terrain on Chasma Boreale, a trough that cuts into the north polar ice fields of Mars. These are known as barchan dunes…like their counterparts on Earth, they have steep edges with “horns” that point in the direction of the wind. The dune material could either be dark sand or…