Raindrops of Sand in Copernicus Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Raindrops of Sand in Copernicus Crater
ESP_031221_1315  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
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The dark features here look like raindrops, but are actually sand dunes. This spot was targeted by CRISM because the dunes are rich in the mineral olivine.

Olivine-rich dunes are very rare on Earth, as olivine rapidly weathers to clays in a wet environment. There is also olivine-rich bedrock in the central peaks of Copernicus Crater on the Moon.

There is only a handful of very important scientists, like Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) who have craters named after them on both Mars and the Moon.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (10 April 2013)
 
Acquisition date
25 March 2013

Local Mars time
14:37

Latitude (centered)
-48.104°

Longitude (East)
192.540°

Spacecraft altitude
252.6 km (157.0 miles)

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50.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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2.9°

Phase angle
42.2°

Solar incidence angle
39°, with the Sun about 51° above the horizon

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288.6°, Northern Winter

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  29.8°
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POSTSCRIPT
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.