Arnus Vallis, Mars

A Piece of Mars: This is a section of Arnus Vallis (scene is 1.25×1 km, 0.78×0.62 mi). It’s a >300 km long valley that was carved out, not by water, but by lava, long ago. Since then the wind has taken over. The left wall of the valley seems to have layers etched into high

Varying wind directions

A Piece of Mars: This 0.5×0.4 km (0.31×0.25 mi) scene shows two dunes near the north pole. The shape of the dunes indicates two main winds: one blowing left to right (which makes slip faces on the right side, one of which still has some bright white ice on it), and a secondary wind blowing

Dunes with comet tails

A Piece of Mars: The north polar dunes in this 575×325 m (0.36×0.2 mi) scene are made of dark sand covered by bright winter frost (which will soon sublimate away, as this image was taken in late spring). To the right of the dunes extend pale yellow bumpy hills, making the dunes look like they

Fuzzy dunes

A Piece of Mars: The dunes (or maybe they’re ripples) in this valley appear to be fuzzy (the view is 625×775 m, 0.39×0.48 mi). They’re not really fuzzy, but it’s not actually clear what’s going on. They seem to have smaller ripples superposed on them, and maybe bright dust has settled into the troughs between

Buried by ejecta

A Piece of Mars: To see this one well you’ll have to click on the image. At the lower right, a 240 m (787 ft) diameter crater formed when a bolide hit the surface, throwing out ejecta on the surrounding terrain. Zooming in, you can see that the ejecta has a distinctive rough surface. Farther

The mysterious bright streaks

A Piece of Mars: Some things just go unexplained (so far, anyway). Here’s a mysterious bright streak (scene is 1.2×1.8 km, 0.75×1.12 mi) concentrated between two sets of ripple-like bedforms. It looks sort of like a river, but it’s on flat terrain and it’s not water. It’s part of a larger set of bright streaks

Dunes in a row

A Piece of Mars: Look at the alignment of the ~100 m dunes in this 713×750 m (0.44×0.47 mi) scene. How do dunes form in such straight lines? And why don’t they always do that? It’s likely that these dunes were once long ridges stretching from the lower right to upper left. The shape of

Ripples of rock

A Piece of Mars: To the upper right of this 0.85×0.6 km (0.53×0.37 mi) scene is a flat-lying plain strewn with large ripples. To the lower left is a rugged hill with gray rock laced with white veins (this might be part of an impact megabreccia identified nearby in Holden crater). Notice that some of