Mars Sand Dune Changes
Mars Sand Dune Changes
ESP_024025_2005  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This observation is an example of tracking changes over time, here with sand dunes located within a crater in Syrtis Major, from (December 2007) to September 2011 (this image).

The time interval is approximately two Mars years, with lighting geometry that is very similar in the two images. In addition, the MRO spacecraft took both images at nearly the same roll angle. Changes can be readily apparent. Here are a series of zoomed views starting from part of the dune field and then zeroing in on the slip face of one dune. An animation 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.
Acquisition date
11 September 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
281.4 km (174.9 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 up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
359.0°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  336.7°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.