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Martian Crater With Dunes.


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Martian crater.
Martian crater with a dune field.

This image of a Martian crater was taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft in May, 2004. The crater is unevenly weathered, with a gentle slope on the wind-facing side, and a steep slope on the lee-side - on Earth these features are called 'barchanes’, and usually form in arid regions. There's a dune field on the bottom of the crater, that seems to be composed of sand of volcanic origin; how it got to the bottom of this crater is a mystery.

This image, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, shows a Martian crater with a dune field on its floor.

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

The image is centred at Mars longitude 303º East and latitude 43º South. The image resolution is approximately 16.2 metres per pixel.

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

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.




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