PIA05293: Sand Dunes in Noachis Terra
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
Spacecraft: Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter
Instrument: Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
Product Size: 512 x 768 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Malin Space Science Systems
Producer ID: MOC2-633
Full-Res TIFF: PIA05293.tif (370.9 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA05293.jpg (53.36 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:
11 February 2004
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark-toned sand dunes in a crater in eastern Noachis Terra. Most big martian dunes tend to be dark, as opposed to the more familiar light-toned dunes of Earth. This difference is a product of the composition of the dunes; on Earth, most dunes contain abundant quartz. Quartz is usually clear (transparent), though quartz sand grains that have been kicked around by wind usually develop a white, frosty surface. On Mars, the sand is mostly made up of the darker minerals that comprise iron- and magnesium-rich volcanic rocks--i.e., like the black sand beaches found on volcanic islands like Hawaii. Examples of dark sand dunes on Earth are found in central Washington state and Iceland, among other places. This picture is located near 49.0S, 326.3W. Sunlight illuminates this scene from the upper left; the image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.
Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Image Addition Date:
2004-02-11