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November 28, 2011

NASA orbiter catches Mars sand dunes in motion

The article that I found was about how NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter encountered sand dunes and ripples on the surface as it was traveling various different locations. This was quite a shock to the scientists who were observing Mars for years now because they had thought that the sand on Mars's surface did not really move and stayed immobile. Observations from the MRO tell us that the sand on Mar's is much more dynamic and does move around along the surface. Scientists think that the cause of this is because of the presence of gusts of wind that are pushing the sand in all directions. From the observations, they also believe that the winds may be capable of carrying a higher quantity of sand resulting in the sand being a lot more mobile. Scientists also inferred that since there is less air on Mars, the gusts of wind have to be going at a faster rate in order to move each grain of sand. The dark grains of sand are much harder to move then the red dust that travels everywhere on Mars's surface. Another inference that was made was that some of the sand dunes where there was no movement might be because the grains are fixated in such a way that they are harder to move. I found this article pretty interesting and knowledgable. To read about it a little more you can go to http://www.astronomy.com/en/News-Observing/News/2011/11/NASA%20orbiter%20catches%20Mars%20sand%20dunes%20in%20motion.aspx

Posted by aakashj at November 28, 2011 03:40 PM


Does this mean that Mars erosion is quite active?

Posted by: buruken at November 28, 2011 07:50 PM

this article can tell us more about Mars's surface so not only do we have more information about it, but we can also refine the maps that we have made. Also, the dunes and ripples show us that some form of wind exists on Mars meaning that there is some sort of an atmosphere or even erosion.

Posted by: aguneet at November 30, 2011 09:39 PM

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