Mars Sand Dune Changes
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Mars Sand Dune Changes

October 13, 2011
Now that HiRISE has been returning data from its primary science orbit at Mars since 2006, it has been able to document changes in the position of sand dunes and ripples on the surface.

Shown here is one example, illustrating changes in sand dunes, located within a crater in Syrtis Major, from Dec. 16, 2007.

The time interval is approximately two Mars years, such that lighting geometry is very similar in the two images. In addition, the MRO spacecraft took both images at nearly the same roll angle. With the similar lighting and viewing geometry, changes can be readily seen.

The dune appears to have moved a couple of meters. This demonstrates that this region of Mars has winds strong enough to move significant volumes of sand.

Written by: Nathan Bridges

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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