October 9, 2009
This image is from a region called Terra Sirenum in Mars' southern hemisphere. This region was named in 1958 for the Sea of the Sirens from Greek Mythology. This is not a sea, however, but a relatively dusty, high albedo region of Mars. There are numerous dust devil tracks that are apparent in the center- left of the image. The dust devils act like vacuum cleaners and lift dust off of the surface leaving a less dusty and relatively lower albedo surface behind. Dust devils are very common on Mars and are thought to be the primary mechanism for constantly lifting the dust into the atmosphere. Dust is constantly present in the Martian atmosphere in greater abundances than typically seen on Earth. The Martian dust is one of the main factors that affect the present Martian climate and clearly displays the relationship between Mars' geology and atmosphere.
Topics: Environment, Mars, Astronomy, Planetary science, Terra Sirenum, Dust Devil Tracks, Memnonia quadrangle, Dust devil, Climate of Mars, Solar System