Northern Polar Dune Field
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Northern Polar Dune Field
ESP_027378_2540  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
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This field of crescent-shaped dunes (lat.73.62, lon. 328.215) is located just south of the North Polar layered terrain.

These dunes, known as barchan dunes, usually form where there is a moderate supply of sand and a prevailing wind direction. The "arms" or "horns" of barchan dunes point in the downwind direction and in this case indicate that the prevailing winds blow towards the northwest.

The dunes in the close-up image are approximately 100 meters across and are traversing a bumpy, hard terrain. Polygonal patterns are evident in some areas while numerous meter-scale boulders are strewn throughout the region. The boulders are more numerous in areas where the polygonal patterns are less pronounced. Repeat imaging of this dune field could reveal whether these dunes are presently moving.

Written by: Ginny Gulick (audio by Tre Gibbs)   (11 July 2012)



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Acquisition date:29 May 2012 Local Mars time: 2:42 PM
Latitude (centered):73.622° Longitude (East):328.215°
Range to target site:316.7 km (198.0 miles)Original image scale range:63.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~190 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:50 cm/pixelMap projection:Polarstereographic
Emission angle:1.9° Phase angle:57.6°
Solar incidence angle:56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon Solar longitude:117.4°, Northern Summer
For non-map projected products:
North azimuth:101° Sub-solar azimuth:327.1°
For map-projected products
North azimuth:301.7°Sub solar azimuth:168.6°

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All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible: Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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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.