PIA17879: Raindrops of Sand in Copernicus Crater
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Instrument: HiRISE
Product Size: 2560 x 1920 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: University of Arizona/HiRise-LPL
Other Information: Other products from image ESP_031221_1315
Full-Res TIFF: PIA17879.tif (14.75 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA17879.jpg (787.4 kB)

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The dark features here look like raindrops, but are actually sand dunes. This spot was targeted by CRISM because the dunes are rich in the mineral olivine.

Olivine-rich dunes are very rare on Earth, as olivine rapidly weathers to clays in a wet environment. There is also olivine-rich bedrock in the central peaks of Copernicus Crater on the Moon.

There is only a handful of very important scientists, like Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) who have craters named after them on both Mars and the Moon.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Image Addition Date:
2013-04-10