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Blowing in the Wind
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Blowing in the Wind

December 19, 2004
This diagram illustrates how windblown sediments travel. There are three basic types of particles that undergo different motions depending on their size. These particles are dust, sand and coarse sand, and their sizes approximate flour, sugar, and ball bearings, respectively. Sand particles move along the "saltation" path, hitting the surface downwind. When the sand hits the surface, it sends dust into the atmosphere and gives coarse sand a little shove. Mars Exploration Rover scientists are studying the distribution of material on the surface of Mars to better understand how winds shape the landscape.