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Curiosity about sand dunes (part 1/2)

14 Dec 2015, 22:16 UTC
Curiosity about sand dunes (part 1/2)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Sorry for the pun in the title there, but NASA asked for it by naming their rover like that. And you’ve seen it done a hundred times, so let’s grit our teeth, smile, and carry on.
Anyway.
So I’m more excited now about a space mission than I have been in a long time. A Mars rover is finally visiting sand dunes, after so many years of peering at them from orbit and seeing them in rover images in the far distance. They took their time getting there, but now it’s there. Taking images of the dunes, and presumably other data as well. Here’s what it looks like from above:
Map credit: NASA/JPL/CalTech/MRO/UofA/HiRISE/Processed by Phil Stooke

Today, December 14, 2015, is Sol 1193 for Curiosity. On Sol 1176, Curiosity took a bunch of color images looking up at “High Dune”. Here’s what they look like all mosaicked together:
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Looking from the bottom up, you are panning up the windward side of the dune, looking at the lovely ripples that cover the entire dune. You can see the biggest ripples in the first image from space. Using those images, my colleague Simone Silvestro and others (including me, yay) ...

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