28 October 2008

Mars Art: Linear Dunes near the North Pole

Posted by Ryan Anderson

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 view of linear dunes near the Martian north pole. The shape of the dunes themselves indicates that winds in this area tend to vary, first blowing along the dunes from one side, then the other, but always in a generally west-southwest direction. Between the dunes, the bare ground shows polygonal cracks similar to the ones that Phoenix landed on. These cracks are a good indicator of permafrost in the soil. Click for a higher resolution jpeg, or go to the HiRISE site to learn more about the image or to look at the full-resolution version.