NASA has the champagne on ice as its Odyssey Orbiter prepares to break the "Martian longevity record". On 15 December, the spacecraft will clock up its 3,340th day since entering orbit around the Red Planet on 24 October 2001, and will have "worked longer at Mars than any other spacecraft in history". Odyssey takes the crown …
That is one bizarre looking surface formation.
It looks more liquid than solid, the way that water's surface tension causes it to "fold" when a high-velocity, laminar wind blows across a large pool of water toward a gently-sloping shoreline.
According to the article's footnote, the winds are coming from the "north" (relative to the picture's orientation; the top of the picture may not actually be "true north"). But by the way the dunes are constructed, I would expect that the winds were coming in from the relative "east" (right side of the photo). If you take a close look at snow drifts here on good ol' Earth, the windward side of a snow drift is often banked more steeply than the leeward side. The Odyssey photo in the article shows dunes that are more steeply banked on the right than the left.
Any geoscience folks out there who could enlighten us?
The frame is 14 km wide, so surface tension is pretty much out; gravity and inertia would be the dominant forces if there were liquid water in such quantities.
The part that strikes me is how you move around enough dirt to make dunes like that and not obliterate the nearby impact craters in the process? Just wondering. What I know about geology could be written on the edge of a credit card with a dull felt tip pen.
NASA is pretty careful about identifying structures from imaging (they took a long time to openly identify Titan's lakes), but I would be curious to know how they ruled out a rock outcropping in this case.
All that aside, I know what this is: the remains of a giant Stegosaurus.
Fans and Ribbons
Those are, of course, the Dune sandworms on their annual migration South.
I know...sigh..I'll get me coat as it's Friday.
There's a face in the pic !
Is it an amanfromMars self-portrait ? Nice spikes but facial detail lacking. mmmm. Any sightings lately ?
Looks to my untrained eye like winds are blowing left-to-right. Most of the dunes have a steep straight left side, and a long trailing-off angle to the right:
This is easiest to see on the larger dunes nearer the right of the picture.
Its actually a close up of a lattace for the top of my apple pie
Surely you mean Stilsuit!