Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Tuning forks on tuning forks cross Mars in this image from HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Explore the snaking dunes in this image. What stories or pictures does your imagination make in the shifting sands of Mars? Leave a note below.
Wind is a main force on Mars stirring up dust devils and sometimes global dust storms. Typically, wind on Mars creates fascinating dune fields. Many types of dunes are seen in this image from the mid latitudes of Mars. The long ridges of sand are called linear dunes. On Earth, these dunes can extend for more than a hundred kilometers. They form when the wind blows from two directions. In this image, the wind seems to blow from bottom to top and from the side. As time passes, these dunes will move slowly along the surface acting like a snake as they move. Some dunes merge to form Y-shaped dunes; the tuning forks we see in the image.
As you zoom into the dunes, look for star-shaped dunes, crescent-shaped dunes and smaller ripples on the larger dunes. In the lower left-hand corner of the image, look for a crater that is nearly filled with sand and dunes.
Launched with MRO in 2005, HiRISE is one of six instruments aboard the spacecraft orbiting Mars. HiRISE’s cameras can see objects on the surface as small as a beach ball. The camera also offers scientists stereo views of the surface.