Polka Dots on Mars: NASA Spots Uncommon Circles of Sand


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This story is a part of Welcome to Mars, our collection exploring the purple planet.

Seems Mars could have a way of trend, and it is right into a basic sample: polka dots. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, a longtime resident of the planet, captured an interesting picture of sand dunes with notably spherical shapes.  

MRO’s Excessive Decision Imaging Experiment (HiRise) digital camera has snapped some pleasant dunes earlier than, together with some extra typical crescent-shaped dunes. “Sand dunes of many sizes and styles are widespread on Mars. On this instance, the dunes are virtually completely round, which is uncommon,” wrote planetary geologist Alfred McEwen for a HiRise picture-of-the-day characteristic Thursday.

Take a better take a look at these pleasingly spherical Martian dunes.


Mars is a dusty, sandy, windy place, making it an ideal planet for sand dune formation. An in depth look exhibits these dunes aren’t actual circles. “They’re nonetheless barely asymmetrical, with steep slip faces on the south ends. This means that sand typically strikes to the south, however the winds could also be variable,” stated McEwen.

The HiRise digital camera is operated out of the College of Arizona. MRO snapped the dunes in late November final 12 months. Researchers have been learning the realm to observe for seasonal modifications in frost protection. This picture exhibits frost is absent from the panorama.

Mars views like this will look otherworldly, however they present a connection between our two planets. We’ve scenic dunes right here on Earth, too, that inform related tales in regards to the wind and the altering of the seasons. There’s loads of magnificence to be discovered on each planets.


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