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Kaiser Crater Dune Field
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Kaiser Crater Dune Field

May 1, 2007

This Martian image shows a sand dune field in Kaiser Crater, a 210 km (130 miles) wide impact basin in the Hellespontus region of Mars.

Winds have trapped massive quantities of sand on the floors of broad craters in this region. The steepest slopes on each dune, the slip faces, point to the east indicating that the dominant wind direction in this part of the dune field is from west to east. Patches of seasonal frost can be seen in the low areas between the dunes.

The subimage reveals smaller secondary dunes superimposed on the surface of the large dunes and even smaller ripples that appear between and perpendicular to the secondary dunes. Avalanching or mass movement of sand has left deep scars on the slip face of the large dune in the upper left portion of the subimage. This may indicate that the sand is not loose but is weakly cemented.

Observation Geometry

Image PSP_003141_1330 was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft on 29-Mar-2007. The complete image is centered at -46.6 degrees latitude, 19.3 degrees East longitude. The range to the target site was 263.9 km (164.9 miles). At this distance the image scale is 26.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved.

The image shown here has been map-projected to 25 cm/pixel and north is up. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 03:43 PM and the scene is illuminated from the west with a solar incidence angle of 58 degrees, thus the sun was about 32 degrees above the horizon. At a solar longitude of 209.0 degrees, the season on Mars is Northern Autumn.