October 18, 2018

The martian wind is a geologist

Right now, the Fourth Landing Site Workshop for the Mars 2020 rover mission is happening. It’s the last one, and in a few hours the scientists attending the workshop will vote on which of four sites they think the rover […]
October 8, 2018

Pretty little dune field in Noachis Terra

Noachis Terra is an ancient terrain on Mars, located in the mid southern highlands. It’s the home of many dune fields, big and small. Here’s a fairly small one. You can’t see it, but this is the floor of an […]
September 28, 2018

Lyot crater, Mars

It’s a rough day. A tsunami in Indonesia has killed many people, and the pain is so fresh that there’s not even a death count yet. A couple of my good friends are going through various personal crises that will […]
September 24, 2018

Complexity

Being a geomorphologist and reading a landscape is a little bit like being one of the forensic scientists on CSI (or choose your own favorite investigative show). A Mars geomorphologist usually has to do this entirely by remote sensing. So […]
September 13, 2018

Ever shifting

Dunes are just so amazingly beautiful. I’ll never get over how nature can sculpt such regular patterns into endlessly overlapping structures. Here’s a small bit of a dune field trapped up high between mountains in the middle of Coprates Chasma. […]
August 28, 2018

The end of winter

Richardson crater is located at 72ºS, about 1000 km (~621 miles) from the south pole of Mars. It’s a moderately large crater, about 90 km (56) miles across, and it’s mostly filled by one of the biggest dune fields in […]
August 21, 2018

Different sands

There’s a lot we don’t understand about the sediment on Mars. Water, wind, ice, changing temperatures, and volcanic eruptions can all break rocks into grains small enough for the wind to transport. The smallest grains are lofted by the wind, […]
August 13, 2018

Where dunes once trod

Mars has been dusty, and that’s affecting the quality of HiRISE images (just look at the recent images in the catalog and you’ll see they’re not that great). That’s made it hard for me to choose a good one for […]
August 2, 2018

Oh, Mars!

The HiRISE camera has a website called HiWish that lets anybody (yes, even you!) make image requests. That’s right, you can choose any spot on Mars that HiRISE can see, pick any season (or let them pick for you if […]