November 12, 2012

Big dunes and little dunes

A Piece of Mars: A large dune (on the right, bluish) rests on a surface covered in much smaller dunes or ripples (on the left, cream). This is part of my favorite dune field on Mars. Can you spot the […]
November 1, 2012

Wind shadow, wind shadow

A piece of Mars: When the wind blows sand up against obstacles like this bright little hill, the sand is swept around to the sides. This leaves a wind shadow in the wake of the hill. It’s one of the […]
October 9, 2012

A mighty wind

A piece of Mars: I just adore that the wind can do this to a landscape. Over a long period of time, two different winds have scratched deep grooves in a rocky surface. Wind-carved rocks like this are called “yardangs”. […]
October 4, 2012

Oh, gravity, the things you can do

A piece of Mars: Steep slopes in some parts of Mars are prone to very thin landslides that leave behind dark tracks. The landslides may be triggered by the wind or nearby impacts. They always move downslope — in this […]
September 25, 2012

Winds in Gale crater, ancient and young

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Cream-colored ripples wind their way through rough terrain. Looking more closely, the rocky surface seems to be made of highly eroded parallel ridges that are nearly perpendicular to most of the ripples. These ridges […]
September 21, 2012

Happy final voyage, Endeavour!

I rushed to work this morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the space shuttle Endeavour on its final trip, piggybacking on another plane to its final destination as a museum dust magnet. Well, I suppose there are worse ways […]
September 19, 2012

Squooshed craters

A piece of Mars: Impact craters are typically round circles, so when you see one that isn’t, it’s usually because something has changed its shape into something less perfectly round. These craters are squooshed on the lower right side, as […]
September 9, 2012

Valley in Mt. Sharp

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Here’s a view of a small piece of Mt. Sharp, both from Curiosity (on the right) and from orbit (on the left, HiRISE ESP_028269_1755). A broad valley visible from the rover is revealed to […]
September 3, 2012

Distances to Mt. Sharp

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Last week NASA released an image from Curiosity showing various distances on the path to Mt. Sharp. I decided to go and see if I could find where they are in spacecraft images. On […]