It’s time once again for another Where In The Universe Challenge. Test your visual knowledge of the cosmos by naming where in the Universe this image was taken and give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for this picture. Post your guesses in the comments section, and check back on Thursday at this same post to find the answer. To make this challenge fun for everyone, please don’t include links to the answer in your comments. Good luck!
UPDATE (3/12) The answer has now been posted below. Don’t peek before you make your guess!
Unfortunately these are not multiple Pacmen or fortune cookies, but sand dunes. These dunes, are called “barchan” which means arc-shaped, and they are on Mars. The image was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows north polar sand dunes in the summertime. During winter and early spring, north polar dunes are covered with bright frost. When the frost sublimes away, the dunes appear darker than their surroundings. To a geologist, sand has a very specific meaning. A sand grain is defined independently of its composition; it is a particle with a size between 62.5 and 2000 microns. Two thousand microns equals 2 millimeters. The dunes are dark because they are composed of sand grains made of dark minerals and/or rock fragments. Usually, dark grains indicate the presence of unoxidized iron, for example, the dark volcanic rocks of Hawaii, Iceland, and elsewhere. This dune field is located near 71.7°N, 51.3°W. Dune slip faces indicate winds that blow from the upper left toward lower right. This picture covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across and is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left.
How did you do this week? Check back again next week for another WITU Challenge!