Mars’ “Type A” wind

The busy, busy wind has moved a lot of things to make this 0.6×0.85 km (0.37×0.53 mi) landscape. First it built a big dark dune, covering it and the surrounding surface with ripples. Then it dumped a bunch of bright yellow dust all over everything, maybe the result of a nearby dust storm, or maybe

Dunes fighting for survival

A Piece of Mars: Having a bad day? You’re in good company with these dunes in this 0.96×0.48 km (0.6×0.3 mi) scene. The gray barchanoid dunes are covered in ripples, as the wind valiantly tries to push the sand to the dune crests. But they are besieged by other processes at work. Dark scribbles show

Tortoise and hare

A Piece of Mars: There’s a lot of evidence for both fast and slow movement in this 480×270 m (0.3×0.17 mi) scene. The tortoise: The rippled surface at the top is high ground: the top of a dune. Wind pushes the ripples toward a steep sunlit slope, creating long thin, dark avalanches that slowly inch

A light touch

A Piece of Mars: This 3.2×1.8 km (2×1.1 mi) area shows terrain covered by bright dust. Dark stripes are areas where wind has lightly scoured the surface, revealing the dark material beneath. Faint bright lines criss-cross the surface – these are tracks left by dust devils. The dust devils disturb the surface but don’t lift

New dust devils swirls

A piece of Mars: Swirly loops form on the martian surface as dust devils pass by, cleaning up dust on the surface and revealing the dark, rippled dune beneath. Every year the swirls get cleaned off and reform — such patterns are known to occur in only a few select places on Earth, but they

Modern art or windy Mars?

A piece of Mars: Is it modern art? Well maybe it looks like it from a distance. Up close, this is reality on Mars. These are dark dunes in the southern hemisphere, awaking from a long hibernation beneath bright winter frost (a touch of which can still be seen in white patches). The wind has

Giant crayons on Mars

A piece of Mars: There are vast plains on Mars that display criss-crossing streaks like this. These are ~5 m (~16 feet) across, give or take. Did an alien drive a dune buggy all over, leaving behind tracks? Nope. These are the distinctive trails made by the passage of dust devils, which act like huge