Changes on Dunes in Russell Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Changes on Dunes in Russell Crater
ESP_021496_1255  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
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HiRISE images of the large sand dunes in Russell Crater have been repeatedly acquired to look for evidence of surface changes.

This full image shows diffuse, dark patterns that are likely caused by many dust devils removing bright dust from the surface of the dunes. In addition, as shown in the cutout, narrow troughs continue to form on the steep faces of the sand dunes.

These troughs appear to be formed when chunks of carbon dioxide ("dry") ice slides down the face of the dune. The image on the left was taken a bit over a Mars year before the image on the right; both were taken in the springtime. The ice blocks may sometimes slide down the same troughs, but comparison of these two images shows that new troughs have been formed during the past year. The pits near the ends of the troughs may be locations where blocks of ice came to rest and then evaporated away.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff   (9 March 2011)



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Acquisition date:26 February 2011 Local Mars time: 3:20 PM
Latitude (centered):-54.271° Longitude (East):12.953°
Range to target site:259.0 km (161.9 miles)Original image scale range:25.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:14.3° Phase angle:62.2°
Solar incidence angle:49°, with the Sun about 41° above the horizon Solar longitude:244.1°, Northern Autumn
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North azimuth:94° Sub-solar azimuth:24.3°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:198.1°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.