Stunning Sanddunes on the Surface of Mars

Dec 16, 2010 10:25 PMNov 20, 2019 9:20 PM


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Winds blowing from the top of this January 2006 picture toward the bottom help to create the impression of slithering dunes in Bunge Crater.

These are not scales on the back of a lizard; they're sand dunes stretching about 6 miles located near Mars's north pole.

Mars is not covered in golden sand, of course--this Odyssey false-color image shows warmer temperatures in warm colors and cooler temperatures in cool colors. Odyssey imaged this area near the Martian north pole from 2002 to 2004.

This spectacular westward view takes in the spectacularly named Noctis Labyrinthus, or "the labyrinth of the night."

This infrared image was taken with one of Odyssey's key instruments, the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera. Odyssey's operators shifted its orbit in late 2008 so that it could image this region in the early afternoon, when it emits in the infrared range more strongly.

Here, Martian winds that blow across the rim of this 2-mile-wide crater have swept the light-colored dust away from the ground behind the crater, creating a "shadow" and making the whole formation look a little like a comet.

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