I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: back I was a kid, Mars was a asleep planet. Dry, frozen, with hardly any atmosphere, I consistently ample it wasn’t actual interesting.
Mars may or may not be animate in the biological sense, but it’s absolutely alive geologically! And images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera verify it. It’s spotted brief ripples beyond Martian beach dunes:
These afore and afterwards images (part of a leash of them) appearance the motion. The angel on the larboard was taken June 30, 2007, and the one on the appropriate in October of that year. During that time, aloof a few months, the ripples can acutely be apparent to accept confused by a few meters (the inset diagram shows the ridges on the dunes schematically). This agency that the wind alarming in this allotment of the planet is not alone actively blame about the sand, but additionally accomplishing it on a timescale we can measure.
And on a spatial scale, too. Note the scalebar in the images: it’s 20 meters long, about the admeasurement of a house! This acerb suggests that these dunes are apart bags of sand, and not heavily crusted over or anchored (the grains ashore together). That, additional the time and admeasurement of the migration, yields yet added clues about the way the apparent of Mars is put together.
Amazingly, this comes at the aforementioned time as added account assuming that dunes in addition arena of Mars haven’t confused for at atomic 100,000 years, and possibly as continued as three times that age! So while some regions of Mars are dynamic, active, and alteration on a timescale of weeks, added regions are static, unchanging, and adamant for hundreds of millennia.
I acclimated to anticipate Mars was uninteresting. I was asleep wrong. Mars is weird, and in astrochemistry and amplitude exploration, awe-inspiring is consistently interesting.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/International Research School of Planetary Sciences
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