Strange Intersecting Sand Dunes on Mars

In our exploration of Mars, we’ve seen some strange but naturally occurring shapes. Polygons – a shape with at least three straight sides and angles, typically with five or more – have been seen in several different Martian landscapes, and scientists say these shapes are of great interest because they often indicate the presence of shallow ice, or that water formerly was present in these areas.

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This is why Martian Colonists are Going to Wish They had an Atmosphere Above Them

There will be all sorts of risks for any future colonists on Mars, such as extreme weather and temperatures, radiation, and the human physiological problems associated with living in with decreased gravity. But another issue means colonists on Mars will have to be on a constant lookout above their heads.

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Dunes Trapped in a Crater on Mars Form This Interesting Pattern

Symmetry in nature is pleasing to look at, and even more so when that symmetry is novel.  There’s plenty of it to see on Earth, as biological processes have a penchant for patterns.  But finding it off-world is trickier, and sometimes more striking.  Which is why a picture from HiRISE of some Martian dunes is so spectacular.

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Bright Ejecta Reveals a Fresh Crater on Mars

Meteors hit much harder on Mars than they do on the Earth.  Lack of atmosphere obviously contributes to that, but its proximity to the asteroid belt also makes the red planet a more likely target for some gravitationally disturbed rock to run into.  Now that we have a satellite infrastructure consistently monitoring Mars, we are able to capture the aftermath of what happens when it is pummeled by space debris, and the results can be dramatic.

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Volcanoes on Mars Might Still be Active

Back in March, NASA’s InSight lander detected two large quakes from a geologically active region of Mars called the Cerberus Fossae. Now, using imagery from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which circles the red planet at an altitude of about 300km, researchers have discovered that the Cerberus Fossae region holds the most recent evidence of volcanic activity ever seen on Mars.

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This Is a Collapsed Pit on Mars, Not a Pimple

Mars has been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. With the historic landing of the Perseverance Rover earlier in the year, and the successful flight of Ingenuity, the first-ever aircraft to fly in another atmosphere, earlier this morning (April 19, 2021), there’s no shortage of exciting stories of technical brilliance from the human-built wonders exploring the red planet. High above the plucky helicopter, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) surveys the Martian landscape on a grand scale. A brain-bending image released by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), a powerful camera aboard MRO, shows a sunken pit in the planet’s polar region. From the high-altitude perspective of the orbiter, it’s easy for the mind to warp the concave depression into a convex, acne-esque Martian polar zit!

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InSight Detects Two Significant Quakes from the Cerberus Fossae Region on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander felt the distant rumble of two major ‘marsquakes’ in March, originating from a region near the Martian equator known as the Cerberus Fossae. Registering magnitudes of 3.1 and 3.3 on March 7th and March 18th respectively, the quakes cement the Cerberus Fossae’s reputation as one of the most geologically active places on the Red Planet today. A pair of similarly strong marsquakes rocked the same region back in 2019.

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Sand Dunes on Mars Shift From Season to Season

Mars’ gravity makes it an amazing place to find some of the biggest landscapes in the solar system.  Those would include the solar system’s biggest sand dune – one that resides in Russell crater.  Now, a team of scientists led by Dr. Cynthia Dinwiddie noticed something unique about the sides of this massive dune.  Occasionally gullies form along its surface. Dr. Dinwiddie’s novel explanation for this phenomena – boulders of CO2 rolling down the dune’s surface.

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