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

Mars

Amazing and Marvelous Mars Dunes

15 Oct , 2009 by

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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!

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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.



8 Responses

  1. Astrofiend says:

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

  2. SteveZodiac says:

    Makes me want to be there more than ever.

  3. cookoy says:

    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.

  4. Arvind says:

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

  5. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    Pretty!

    [And I doesn’t say that just because I got afflicted by “boobedolia”. :-D]

  6. Dave Finton says:

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

  7. Aqua says:

    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!

  8. Jon Hanford says:

    @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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