Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Wind Erosion in Tithonium 07-09-2004

By SpaceRef Editor
July 9, 2004
Filed under , , ,

Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-782, 9 July 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The processes that have eroded and exposed sedimentary
rock outcrops in many of the Valles Marineris troughs
are unclear. However,
this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image shows an example from western Tithonium Chasma
that is unambiguous. The ridges are yardangs, an
erosional form created by wind. To acquire the characteristic
shape of a yardang, the material being eroded must contain
some amount of sand. As weathering processes loosen sand
grains from the outcrop, they become available to be
picked up and transported away by wind. In the case shown
here, the dominant, rock-eroding winds came from the
top/upper right (north).
This view of eroded sedimentary rock in western
Valles Marineris is located
near 4.6°S, 89.1°W. At 1.5 meters (5 feet)
per pixel, this image
covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide, and is
illuminated by sunlight from the left.

Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology
built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission.
MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Surveyor Operations Project
operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial
partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena,
California and Denver, Colorado.

SpaceRef staff editor.