The Millipedes of Mars?
The Millipedes of Mars?
ESP_023829_1350  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
HiRISE observations like this one are used to aid in classification and volume estimates of dunes in the USGS global dune database.

Sand dunes are among the most widespread aeolian features present on Mars. Their spatial distribution and morphology are sensitive to subtle shifts in wind circulation patterns and wind strengths. These provide clues to the sedimentary history of the surrounding terrain.

What's fascinating about this image is the ridges running the length of the dunes here, creating the spectacular illusion that we're looking at millipedes. This is a good example of what's called "pareidolia," where we see things that really are not there.

Luckily, the power of HiRISE helps us see formations in greater detail to know we're seeing impressive dune ridge formations and not insects!

Written by: HIRISE Science Team  (18 October 2011)
Acquisition date
27 August 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.1 km (156.1 miles)

Original image scale range
50.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~151 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
52°, with the Sun about 38° above the horizon

Solar longitude
351.2°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  48.3°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (163MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (90MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (71MB)
non-map           (97MB)

IRB color
map projected  (24MB)
non-map           (74MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (145MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (140MB)

RGB color
non map           (73MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.