Exploring the Sandy Province of Herschel Crater
Exploring the Sandy Province of Herschel Crater
ESP_050159_1655  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
While perhaps not awe-inspiringly beautiful, sand sheets can tell us about Mars’ current and past environmental conditions as a piece of the puzzle for understanding habitability.

This view shows the downwind stretches of a sand sheet in central part of the much larger Herschel Crater. This sandy province began kilometers upwind in a string of barchan sand dunes. As the north-to-south blowing wind weakened downwind, it could no longer fashion the sand into dunes but rather into amorphously-shaped sand sheets.

Having dunes upwind of sheets is the opposite situation Earth has, where upwind sand sheets evolve downwind into sand dunes. This mystery is receiving ongoing research to to understand these sandy differences between Earth and Mars.

Written by: Kirby Runyon  (4 September 2017)
Acquisition date
08 April 2017

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
259.3 km (161.1 miles)

Original image scale range
27.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
34°, with the Sun about 56° above the horizon

Solar longitude
346.4°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  18.9°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (996MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (545MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (444MB)
non-map           (517MB)

IRB color
map projected  (181MB)
non-map           (409MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (225MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (227MB)

RGB color
non map           (405MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.