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16 February 2009

The MOC "book": Dunes, Ripples and Streaks

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the huge paper by Malin and Edgett summarizing the results from the Mars Orbital Camera’s (MOC’s) primary mission. If you’re just tuning in, get caught up by reading the first three posts, and if you want to read along, download a pdf of the paper here. This week we’re looking at two sections: “Aeolian Processes and Landforms” and “Polar Processes …


5 February 2009

The MOC "book": Surface Patterns and Properties

Welcome to part 2 of our attempt at tackling The Beast. If you missed Part 1, check it out here. We are working our way, slowly but surely, through the monstrous 2001 Mars Orbital Camera paper by Malin and Edgett. This paper summarizes the results from MOC, which revolutionized the scientific community’s view of Mars. This week we’re going to be looking at the section discussing surface patterns and properties. …


30 January 2009

The MOC "Book": Introduction

When the Mars Global Surveyor arrived at Mars in 1997, it brought with it the most powerful camera ever placed in orbit around another planet, the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC). In 2001, the principal investigators of MOC, Mike Malin and Ken Edgett, published a massive 134 page paper, summarizing the results of the mission and revolutionizing the world’s view of Mars. Here in the MarsLab, the paper is fondly referred …


3 December 2008

Sand Dunes Quote

Briony has kindly updated my last Mars Art post, adding the sand dunes quote which I referred to. In case you don’t feel like going back to look at that post, here’s the quote: In places vast accumulations of sand weighing millions of tons move inexorably, in regular formation, over the surface of the country, growing, retaining their shape, even breeding, in a manner which, by its grotesque imitation of …


24 November 2008

Mars Art: Dunes in Abalos Undae

This week’s Mars Art is a HiRISE view of Dunes in Abalos Undae. Pictures of sand dunes taken by HiRISE never get old for me. There is something about the undulating, regular shapes of dunes that is fascinating and beautiful and peaceful. There is a great quote about dunes in the book “Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes” by R.A. Bagnold that goes on quite poetically about them, but …


15 November 2008

Mars Art: Something Old, Something New

I love this image. It is a view from the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC) showing layered rocks and dunes in the bottom of an unnamed crater in Arabia Terra, Mars. The rocks are extremely ancient sediments, laid down billions of years ago when the planet was young. One of the most impressive things to me is how nice and regular the layers are. The black dunes and the granule ripples …


28 October 2008

Mars Art: Linear Dunes near the North Pole

I am starting a new thing. Every week, I will browse through data from current and past Mars missions and find an “artistic” image to post here. I’ll talk briefly about what the image says scientifically, but mostly this is about eye-candy and the crossover between science and art, which I have talked about before. Without further ado, here’s your first piece of “Mars Art”: This image is a HiRISE …


14 June 2008

Which is Earth?

We had another great day at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve today, with lots of pictures, but it also involved a lot of hiking and I’m tired. So instead of a full post, I will refer you to my adviser’s post about our first day at the dunes, over at the Planetary Society blog. I’m also stealing the image that he posted over there, comparing granule ripples on …


13 June 2008

Sand Dunes!

Greetings folks! I’ve been silent for a few days because I am in the midst of a lot of traveling. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week I was at a team meeting for the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) and Context Camera (CTX). Rather than spend a lot of time explaining what that means, I will do what I always do and link to the planetary society blog. My adviser …


26 February 2008

Dunes in West Arabia Terra

I don’t have time to do a full post tonight, so I will placate you with a pretty picture: This picture was taken by the HiRISE instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). I always describe it to people as a spy satellite around mars because it takes SUPER high resolution pictures. The ones available online as jpegs don’t even come close to the true resolution of about 30 cm …