Stunning ‘blue’ ripples on Mars show how the wind blows

(ORDO NEWS) — What appears to be ripples of blue sand covering the Martian landscape makes the Red Planet even more alien than usual.

However, the striking coloration is not what it seems. To see true beauty, you need to look a little deeper than her makeup.

An image taken by NASA‘s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter earlier this year was treated with what’s called “false color”, transforming subtly different wavelengths of light into impressive palettes that we can’t help but discern.

This improvement looks impressively beautiful, it’s true, but it’s not just to spruce up Mars a bit. Processing the data in this way highlights the contrast of the regions and features of the Martian surface, giving planetary scientists a really great tool to understand the geological and atmospheric processes going on well below the MRO’s orbital height.

The area obtained by MRO is the Gamboa crater in the northern hemisphere of Mars. In a stunning resolution image, each pixel represents 25 centimeters (9.8 inches).

The smallest ripples on the tops of many large hills are separated from each other by only a few feet. At some point, they merge, forming small mounds that radiate outward from the bulge of the dunes about 10 meters (30 ft) apart.

Brightly colored blue, the distinctive patterns of these medium-sized structures are easier to discern among the ripples and large sand waves.

The area in the center of the crater where these objects are visible. (NASA)

These medium-sized structures, known as transverse aeolian ridges or TARs, are composed of very coarse sand. The enhanced colors of the large dunes and TAR are evidence of ongoing erosion processes, according to NASA.

“The mega ripple looks blue-green on one side of the enhanced color cutout, while the TAR looks more vibrant blue on the other. different,” a NASA spokesperson wrote on the website.

Stunning blue ripples on Mars show how the wind blows

“This may be due to the fact that TARs are actively moving under the influence of the wind, removing darker dust and making them brighter.

All of these different features can indicate which way the wind was blowing when they formed. Being able to study such a variety so close to each other allows us to see their relationships, as well as compare and contrast features to study what they are made of and how they formed. .”

Sometimes all you need is a slight shift in perception to learn something new… and appreciate a little more the wonders of the universe.


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