This image from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is of a sand sheet on Mars in the Ganges Chasma portion of Valles Marineris. Sand seas on Earth are often called ergs, an Arabic name for dune field. In this image, dunes are coalescing into a sand sheet.
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Our topic for the weeks of April 4 and April 11 is dunes on Mars. We will look at the north polar sand sea and at isolated dune fields at lower latitudes. Sand seas on Earth are often called "ergs," an Arabic name for dune field. A sand sea differs from a dune field in two ways: 1) a sand sea has a large regional extent, and 2) the individual dunes are large in size and complex in form.

Today's sand sheet is located in the Ganges Chasma portion of Valles Marineris. As with yesterday's image, note that the dune forms are seen only at the margin and that the interior of the sand sheet at this resolution appears to completely lack dune forms.

Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -6.4, Longitude 310.7 East (49.3 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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