Endless wind

A Piece of Mars: This 2.88×1.13 km (1.79×0.70 mi) scene shows quintessential Mars, with a 670 m diameter impact crater heavily modified by wind erosion. Both the crater floor and the surrounding terrain are covered by what is likely loosely-cemented dust. The texture is that of wind-eroded materials, but to make this texture that material

Sand tails

A Piece of Mars: Up on the tallest volcanoes, the wind screams downhill at night. This 500x500m (0.31×0.31 mi) scene shows how dust is carried downhill, but only that which is trapped behind boulders and crater rims sticks around. The big hole may be a window into a lava tube. Formation of the window itself

Erosional remnants

A Piece of Mars: The erosionally-streamlined bright areas are on high ground. They are remnants of a vast dusty mantle that once covered this whole area – the rest of it has been blown away. The surrounding regions (check out the whole image) are still covered by that mantle, but here you can see through


A piece of Mars: This is a bit of the flank of Arsia Mons, one of Mars’ great volcanoes. The big changes in topography are ancient relics of erosion by lava and great tectonic pulling. What I like is that the scene (1.58×1.18 km, or 0.98×0.74 mi) is covered in bright dust (looks a bit

Boulders on high

A piece of Mars: Right at the edge of the largest volcano on Mars (Olympus Mons) is a steep cliff. Here, near that edge, are some car-sized boulders poking out from a thick blanket of dust. Strong winds blow down the mountainside (lower right to upper left), leaving behind streamlined hills and grooves. Much of

Relentless wind

A piece of Mars: This is what the relentless work of the wind can do. That vaguely circular structure in the center of the image is probably the remains of a ~150 m diameter impact crater. Since it formed, it’s been at least partially buried in dust. That dust was probably scoured from elsewhere on

Screaming winds

A piece of Mars: This image is way up high on the Tharsis Montes on Mars, at an elevation of 5900 m (19,350 ft). At night the wind comes screaming down from some of the tallest mountains in the Solar System: Pavonis Mons at 14,000 m (45,900 ft) and Arsia at 16,800 m (55,100 ft).

Mysterious textures

A piece of Mars: Dunes don’t usually have a rough surface texture like these do. It’s not clear what’s going on. Are they ancient dunes that are being eroded? What causes this particular texture? It seems unique to high elevations on Mars. Nobody knows yet. (HiRISE PSP_009448_1670, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)