NASAs Curiosity rover is conducting the first-ever survey of a sand dune on any planet other than Earth, and lately recalled these panoramic portraits of Marss Namib Dune, affording a brand-new glimpse of the Martian landscape.
Rising to a height of about 4 meters( 13 feet ), such structures is located within a band of dark sand dunes known as the Bagnold Dunes, which boundary the northwestern side of Mount Sharp. Curiosity reached the base of the mountain in 2014, and is currently in the process of climbing it in order to examine how the terrain changes with altitude.
At present, the rover is conducting a study into how air moves and situates grains of sand on Mars, where the atmosphere is much thinner than that of Earth. As can be seen from the images rendered by Curiosity, Martian dunes share many similarities with terrestrial ones, consisting of a steep ascent on the downwind back and a more gradual inclination on the windward side.
Close-up image of the downwind descent of the Namib Dune. NASA/ JPL-Caltech
This occurs because the dune itself shelters sand on the downwind slope, making it to drop out of the wind and form a near-vertical cliff. As this builds up, sand avalanches are common, and while Curiosity is yet to captivate one of these in action, the images testify where these had already been occurred.
The Namib Dune is active, migrating at a rate of about 1 meter( 3 paws) per Ground time as the Martian airs followed up with wipe the sand forward.These imagesshow the downwind appearance of the dune, and were taken away from great distances of 7 meters( 23 paws ), applying the rovers mast camera.
Panoramic view of the Namib Dune, stitched together from factor personas captured by Curiosity on December 18, 2015. NASA/ JPL-Caltech
Curiosity captured the ingredient portraits of these sceneries on December 18, 2015, its 1,197 th Martian daytime on the Red Planet. Likewise known as a sol, each Martian era is somewhat longer than an Earth day, lasting for 24 hours, 39 times and 35 seconds.
Mars’s Namib Dune. NASA/ JPL-Caltech