According to Space.com, such photographs were obtained for the first time. They depict very unusual dunes of almost perfectly round shape. It is noteworthy that the pictures themselves turned out by accident.
Planetary scientists have been monitoring the movement of dunes on the Red Planet as part of a program to monitor how frost melts on its surface at the end of the Martian winter.
Sand dunes on the surface of Mars come in all shapes and sizes. However, planetologists have not seen such clearly defined round dunes before.
They have only a slight asymmetry, which, however, shows that the steep slopes of unusual dunes are oriented to the south.
It is also reported that the image was taken as early as November 22, 2022 and became part of a series of images taken by the HiRise camera at the time.
The latter is installed aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) orbital spacecraft.
The image of the round dunes was taken when the MRO was about 300 kilometers above the surface of Mars. Each pixel in the photo corresponds to 25 centimeters.
“This is just one of 60 locations on Mars monitored by HiRise,” the researchers note.
“The high-resolution camera has been orbiting the Red Planet since MRO reached Mars in 2006 and began conducting the first dedicated survey of the planet’s sand dunes.
Collection Repeated observations of sand dunes during a Martian year (lasting 687 Earth days) tracked how fast the dunes were moving, showing that sand dunes move from the equator to the poles at a rate of up to one meter per Martian year.”
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