Sand, wind, and dust

A piece of Mars: This is what dunes look like in the deepest part of Mars, where the air is full of bright dust that constantly settles out onto everything. The wind helps to clear off the sand dunes (blue in this image) in two ways: one is by dust devils that leave crooked tracks

Introduction

The Cassini spacecraft arrives at Saturn (artist's rendering). Credit: NASA

Hello, everyone.  Welcome to my blog as part of the Cosmic Diary.  I’m an astronomer at the SETI Institute.  Or a planetary scientist.  Or a planetary astronomer.  Or something.  I’ve never figured out what to call myself.  I spend my days doing what most scientists do: converting raw data into published papers, hopefully figuring out some fundamental truth about the universe and advancing the scope of human knowledge along the way.  Or at least that’s the theory.  Often my days are actually spent beating my head against misbehaving software or struggling to make sense of what I’m looking at.  It’s a wonderful job and SETI is a great place to work.