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Fascinating images from Mars: Scientists study sandy circles

Fascinating images from Mars: Scientists study sandy circles

Scientists are fascinated by the unusual sand dunes on Mars. Almost perfect circles of sand can be seen in the images from orbit. Among other things, they provide indications of how the planet’s climate will change at the end of the winter period.


There are many sand dunes on Mars, and only a few are round

A vast sea of ​​red sand, traversed by rugged rocks and craters: this is how Mars appears in most surface photographs. The countless tentacles circling our neighboring planet in orbit always provide a very different perspective on the supposedly motionless desert landscape. A team from the University of Arizona is now reporting unusual formations on the surface.

Unusual dunes: HiRISE camera records at 30 cm-per-pixel

Says scientist Alfred McQueen Zur Publishing from recordings. These images come from the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which the team has used to survey 60 regions of the Red Planet for years.

NASA videos

Of course, these long-term notes make an interesting comparison with earlier recordings possible. As McEwen explains, the round dune shown now is slightly uneven on its southern side. From this, scientists can see that the sands in this region are currently moving south due to the Martian winds. Observations of the entire planet allow us to conclude that the dunes move only about 1 meter per Martian year (687 Earth days).

Frost covered: the same area in the Martian winter

Change in the climate of Mars

In addition to surface motion, the team can also better understand another phenomenon based on the recordings. The team explained that previous flybys showed the region during the Martian winter, but the current images are frost-free. This, in turn, allows clear conclusions to be drawn about how the Martian surface changes at the end of the winter period.

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Infographic Mars, Saturn, Neptune & Co: Earth’s Distant Neighbors


  • Scientists are fascinated by the sandy circles on Mars
  • Recordings from the HiRISE camera
  • Long term notes allow comparison with previous recordings
  • Sand moves only about 1 meter per Martian year
  • Surface shoots appear at the end of the winter period
  • Conclusions about the change in the planet’s climate
  • Research results provide important insights

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