The eastern margin of a rippled dune in Herschel Crater on Mars moved an average distance of three meters (about three yards) between March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010, in one of two images taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Add image to your album
Email this page Post this page to your Facebook wall Tweet this page

Shifting Sand in Herschel Crater

The eastern margin of a rippled dune in Herschel Crater on Mars moved an average distance of three meters (about three yards) between March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The white line tracks the displacement between two ripples. Herschel Crater is located just south of the equator in the cratered highlands.

This is one of several sites where the orbiter has observed shifting sand dunes and ripples. Previously, scientists thought sand on Mars was mostly immobile. It took the mission's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) to take sharp enough images to finally see the movement.

While dust is easily blown around the Red Planet, its thin atmosphere means that strong winds are required to move grains of sand.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory operates HiRISE. The camera was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., provided and operates CRISM. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Image details

ID#:
PIA14877

Date added:
2011-11-17

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Spacecraft:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Instruments:
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Size:
781 x 1019 pixels (width x height)

Rating:



Views:
2,055

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA14877.tif (0.8 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA14877.jpg (0.17 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz./JHUAPL