Frosty Sand Dunes of Mars
Frosty Sand Dunes of Mars
ESP_068260_2565  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
A field of sand dunes occupies this frosty 5-kilometer diameter crater in the high-latitudes of the northern plains of Mars. Some dunes have separated from the main field and appear to be climbing up the crater slope along a gully-like form.

The surface of the main dune field is characterized by a series of dark-toned polygonal patterns. These may be the result of seasonal frost processes. Several of the steeper dune slopes, pointing in the downwind direction, host narrow furrows suggesting the start of gully formation.

The crater floor contains a variety of textures, including lobate and striped patterns that indicate seasonal thaw caused by sublimating ice. Broad downslope movement of materials on the crater slopes opposite the dune field superficially resemble gullies, except that they are generally not defined by distinctive alcoves, incised channels, or sediment aprons. These are the hallmarks of gullies elsewhere on the planet.

Written by: Ginny Gulick (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (15 March 2021)
Acquisition date
17 February 2021

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
315.8 km (196.3 miles)

Original image scale range
63.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~191 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
77°, with the Sun about 13° above the horizon

Solar longitude
4.8°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  100°
Sub-solar azimuth:  314.8°
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IRB color
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non-map           (74MB)

IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.