Defrosting Dunes On Mars

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
April 30, 2024
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Defrosting Dunes On Mars
A field of sand dunes in the Martian springtime — NASA

This image shows a field of sand dunes in the Martian springtime while the seasonal carbon dioxide frost is sublimating into the air. This sublimation process is not at all uniform, instead creating a pattern of dark spots.

In addition, the inter-dune areas are also striking, with bright frost persisting in the troughs of polygons. Our enhanced-color cutout is centered on a brownish-colored inter-dune area.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 50.7 centimeters [20.0 inches] per pixel [with 2 x 2 binning]; objects on the order of 152 centimeters [59.8 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.

The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

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