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Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

Sand Dunes in Kaiser Crater

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-306, 18 April 2002

Full size (780 KBytes)

This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) high resolution image shows a field of dark sand dunes on the floor of Kaiser Crater in southeastern Noachis Terra. The steepest slopes on each dune, the slip faces, point toward the east, indicating that the strongest winds that blow across the floor of Kaiser move sand in this direction. Wind features of three different scales are visible in this image: the largest (the dunes) are moving across a hard surface (light tone) that is itself partially covered by large ripples. These large ripples appear not to be moving--the dunes are burying some and revealing others. Another type of ripple pattern is seen on the margins of the dunes and where dunes coalesce. They are smaller (both in their height and in their separation) than the large ripples. These are probably coarse sediments that are moving with the dunes. This picture covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across and is illuminated from the upper left.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, CA and Denver, CO.

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