Mars Sand Dune Changes
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Mars Sand Dune Changes
ESP_024025_2005  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
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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 (HiRISE image PSP_006501_2005) to Sept. 11, 2011 (ESP_024025_2005, this image).

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. Subimage 1 shows a series of zoomed views, starting from part of the dune field and then zeroing in on the slip face of one dune. Subimage 2, an animated GIF, shows how the dune slip face, and ripples on dune surface, have changed over two Mars years.

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   (12 October 2011)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024737_2005.



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Acquisition date:11 September 2011 Local Mars time: 2:11 PM
Latitude (centered):20.259° Longitude (East):79.160°
Range to target site:281.4 km (175.9 miles)Original image scale range:28.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:1.1° Phase angle:39.3°
Solar incidence angle:38°, with the Sun about 52° above the horizon Solar longitude:359.0°, Northern Winter
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:336.7°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:151.2°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.