Amazing and Marvelous Mars Dunes

by Nancy Atkinson on October 15, 2009

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Sand dunes on Mars from MRO's HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL University of Arizona

Sand dunes on Mars from MRO's HiRISE camera. Credit: NASA/JPL University of Arizona


I see the Bad Astronomer has beat me to the punch by posting this image before I could. But what an amazing and gorgeous image of dunes on Mars! However, my initial thought when I saw this on the HiRISE webpage was perhaps this was the first long-awaited look at Phil’s tattoo. Seriously, doesn’t this look like it could be body art? The dunes even have a Phil-like flesh color. But this wonderful image was taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. There is a great database of dune images gathered for the US Geological Survey on the HiRISE website, and below, take a gander at more lovely dune images:

Click on each image to learn more from the HiRISE website.

More Martian dunes from HiRISE.

More Martian dunes from HiRISE.

Russell Crater dunes. Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Russell Crater dunes. Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dunes in the Western Nereidum Montes. Credit: NASA/JPL University of Arizona

Dunes in the Western Nereidum Montes. Credit: NASA/JPL University of Arizona

Sand dunes. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Sand dunes. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dark dunes.  Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dark dunes. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Check out the HiRISE website for more great images from Mars!

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Astrofiend October 15, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Stunning! The ‘Hubble’ of planetary exploration just keeps coming up with the goods.

SteveZodiac October 16, 2009 at 3:47 AM

Makes me want to be there more than ever.

cookoy October 16, 2009 at 5:33 AM

first picture looks like a spider on a field of grass. There you have it, Life on Mars! Case closed. Let’s move on elsewhere.

Arvind October 16, 2009 at 6:42 AM

Now that is some good pics. Quite artistic to believe true.

Torbjorn Larsson OM October 16, 2009 at 7:42 AM

Pretty!

[And I doesn't say that just because I got afflicted by "boobedolia". :-D]

Dave Finton October 16, 2009 at 10:28 AM

That first image made me think at first I had logged onto the wrong website again.

Aqua October 16, 2009 at 12:38 PM

The sinuous patterns in the first image are caused by Dust Devils, right? That seems to explain most of the marking, but the ‘piano board’ looking ribbon of material traversing the landscape is quite mysterioso!

Jon Hanford October 16, 2009 at 1:41 PM

@Aqua, I’ve seen this feature explained as the result of the bright overlying dust cascading down a steep slope exposing the underlying dark sand dunes. Check out Phil’s Bad Astronomy site (link in article above) for an explanation of the horizontal ‘piano board’ feature. What a phantasmagorical world. :)

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