Wind is one of the most active forces shaping Mars’…

Wind is one of the most active forces shaping Mars’ surface in today’s climate. The wind has carved the features we call “yardangs,” one of many in this scene, and deposited sand on the floor of shallow channels between them. On the sand, the wind forms ripples and small dunes. In Mars’ thin atmosphere, light is not scattered much, so theandnbsp;shadows cast by the yardangs are sharp and dark.

This image was acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Dec. 15, 2015, at 3:05 p.m. local Mars time.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace andamp; 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 NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Object Names: Yardangs on Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/ Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Caption: Candy Hansen

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Running across the image center is one the largest canyons in…

Running across the image center is one the largest canyons in the Solar System. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The featured mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

Object Names: Valles Marineris in Mars

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: Viking Proyect, USGS, NASA

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