News | Space

Martian Dunes


An amazing shot of a Martian dunescape. The dunes are dark grayish basalt. The red is typical Martian dust. The tendrils?

In the Martian winter, carbon dioxide freezes out of the air (and you thought it was cold where you are). In the summer, that CO2 sublimates; that is, turns directly from a solid to a gas. When that happens the sand gets disturbed, and falls down the slopes in little channels, which spreads out when it hits the bottom. But this disturbs the red dust, too, which flows with the sand. When it’s all done, you get those feathery tendrils. Note that at the tendril tips, you see blotches of red; that’s probably from the lighter dust billowing a bit before settling down.

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  1. i LOVE this stuff. i'm so glad you're into it too, lol. i have to admit though, these really look a lot like the beach dunes with tufts of beach grass right down the street from me! I tell ya, if NASA ever puts out the word that they need an old queen for diversity's sake for the first intergalactic space trip, I'm there!

    Posted by: casey | Jan 13, 2010 5:23:05 PM

  2. Looks like a fantastic place to ride my mountain bike... other than the freezing cold and the suffocating death part.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 13, 2010 5:33:32 PM

  3. I thought it was contemporary art of a bunch of twats.

    Posted by: Jayde | Jan 13, 2010 6:04:41 PM

  4. Andy is a nerd!

    I love it!

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Jan 13, 2010 7:18:34 PM

  5. I'm sorry NASA. I know living things when I see them and those tendrils are not geologic in origin. But then, you'd never tell us different, would you?

    Posted by: Alexander | Jan 14, 2010 12:42:51 AM

  6. ^^ Yes, because NASA, the organization whose job it is to explore the cosmos and push the boundaries of humanity in the universe wouldn't have any interest in breaking the biggest story of the century, no the millenium, of there being life on other planets. No, they would certainly want to just cover that up as best they can (apparently doing so by releasing a picture of the thing on the internet) and leave it to random internet posters who "know living things when they see them" to make the final call. You fucking knob.

    Posted by: Blake | Jan 14, 2010 3:54:47 AM

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