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Space & Astronomy

Spectacular 'blue' dune photographed on Mars

December 28, 2018 | Comment icon 12 comments



Mars is full of surprises. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizon
This unusual looking sand dune was captured on camera by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Situated within the 147-mile-wide Lyot Crater to the north of the Red Planet's equator, this impressive dune stands out within a field of regular crescent-shaped dunes on the Martian surface.

The image itself has been color enhanced, meaning that the dune does not appear blue in real life.
"Sand dunes often accumulate in the floors of craters," NASA wrote. "In this region of Lyot Crater, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows a field of classic barchan dunes on Jan. 24."

"Just to the south of the group of barchan dunes is one large dune with a more complex structure. This particular dune, appearing like turquoise blue in enhanced color, is made of finer material and/or has a different composition than the surrounding."

A high-resolution version of the image can be viewed - here.



Source: Space.com | Comments (12)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Bunzilla 3 years ago
I hate false colour images. They can be extremely misleading. Taking a look at the actual image, which is in black and white btw, it's very different. I do have to say that it looks quite odd. The 'typical' barchan dunes being referred to are also the same darker colour as the one we're being shown, so it seems to me that they have to be comprised of a different material. But... What? Aside from the dunes, everything else in the area is light coloured.
Comment icon #4 Posted by XenoFish 3 years ago
The spice must flow.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
They're only misleading if you don't know the perimeters of how they are colored. NASA wouldn't do false colored images if they didn't have a purpose for the actual researchers studying said images. NASA also has gone out if its way many, many times over the decades to explain this to lay people. Personally, I don't mind them at all. Sometimes they wind up accidentally beautiful. I say 'accidentally' because NASA is also not in the business of making art; they are†doing science.
Comment icon #6 Posted by cyclopes500 3 years ago
I'm wondering if a Dyson hoover effect is occurring. The wind containing fine hard dust strikes the crater wall, eroding softer layers of rock, but not the harder ones. The shape of the crater wall generates a circular air motion, and the lighter grains are drawn into the middle of the vortice, but not the heavier ones, due to their extra density and weight. Beach sand verses talc for example.
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum 3 years ago
I am confused. So the Blue Dune it is actually not blue but has been color-enhanced. So the Blue Dune is a matter of fact just a mirage created artistically by humans do highlight what exactly?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Timothy 3 years ago
The answer to your question is: No.
Comment icon #9 Posted by mdbuilder 3 years ago
Presumably the underlying sand was blown in and deposited in one direction, as indicated by the ripple pattern. Then, the blue sand on top of that - without disturbing the underlying sand? How?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Bunzilla 3 years ago
Not saying that false colour images can't be beautiful, but they do tend to confuse a lot of people. The image was colourized to illustrate the difference between the darker coloured dunes and the lighter coloured sand around it. Why they chose blue, I have no idea. I almost wonder if the dunes aren't actually dunes in the sense of being made of particulates, but have hardened somehow? Then the lighter coloured sand came in after? I don't think we have anything like this on earth?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Orphalesion 3 years ago
I agree that from the perspective of us laymen who might just be interested in what other planets actually look like, these false color pictures can be very frustrating, particularly if they become part of pop culture and are treated as the
Comment icon #12 Posted by Aardvark-DK 3 years ago
Harkonnen is going there right now....hope House Atreides, get there first....


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