Wind-exposed layers

Wind-exposed layers
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On Earth, layers comprising the geological record of an area are most often exposed by fluvial erosion, as a river cuts through rock (a typical example is the Grand Canyon). On Mars, fluvial channels are not so common (especially in the past few billion years). But the wind has relentlessly worked away at the surface,

Athena Coustenis, Professional Status

Dr HDR Athena Coustenis Observatoire de Meudon 5, place Jules Janssen 92195 Meudon Cedex France PROFESSIONAL STATUS Athena Coustenis is Director of Research 1st class with the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France, working at Paris Observatory in Meudon. Affiliation: Paris Observatory, PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, U. Paris-Diderot Her specialty is Planetology (exploration

AI as a Tool for Planetary Defense: How a Computer Could Help Us Make the Right Decisions When Facing An Asteroid Threat

Last May, a diverse group of astronomers, space agency executives, government representatives, and theorists who study tsunamis and asteroid impacts met for a week in Tokyo to discuss the state of planetary defense.  This group also included a few members of the NASA’s Frontier Development Lab (FDL), an applied research accelerator, aims to foster collaboration between AI experts  and planetary researchers expressly for the purpose of finding solutions to NASA global challenges, including Planetary Defense.

Gigantic Earth Globe at the Miraikan Museum (Credit: F. Marchis)

Dune trails

There’s so much going on in this 0.75×0.75 km (0.47×0.47 mi) image. You’re looking at a broad dune migrating toward the upper right. It’s early summer, but this is close enough to the north pole that some winter ice lingers (pale blueish white), amid slumps that have shed down from the dune. The slumps probably

Ius Chasma dunes: they move

Many dunes on Mars are actively migrating, like these dunes (view is 0.4×0.5 km, 0.25×0.31 mi). These are found deep in Ius Chasma, one of the Valles Marineris. These dunes slowly migrate toward the right, pushed by winds blowing from the lower and upper left. Comparing this recent image with the first HiRISE image taken

Where dune fields begin

This is the upwind edge of a dune field (825×625 m, 0.51×0.39 mi). Winds blow down a cliff (offscreen) from the lower right, blowing sand toward the upper left. Elongated dunes have formed parallel to the resultant wind direction, only avalanching into slip faces once enough sand has piled up (there are two slip faces

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