Martian Basin Dune

Argyre basin dune Credit: ESA

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show a Martian crater with a dune field on its floor.

The images were taken during orbit 427 in May 2004, and show the crater with a dune field located in the north-western part of the Argyre Planitia crater basin.

The images are centered at Mars longitude 303° East and latitude 43° South. The image resolution is approximately 16.2 meters per pixel.

The crater is about 45 kilometers wide and 2 kilometers deep. In the north-eastern part of this crater, the complex dune field is 7 kilometers wide by 12 kilometers long.

Endurance Crater dune near the Opportunity rover Credit: NASA/JPL

In arid zones on Earth, these features are called ‘barchanes’, which are dunes having an asymmetrical profile, with a gentle slope on the wind-facing side and a steep slope on the lee-side.

The dune field shown here suggests an easterly wind direction with its steeper western part. The composition of the dune material is not certain, but the dark sands could be of basaltic origin.



MER flight planning chronicled in the diary of the principal investigator for the science packages, Dr. Steven Squyres: Parts 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 .

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