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Mars rover says: 'good evening gale crater!'

Mar 26, 2010
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Jakarta, Indonesia
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Dec 8, 2011
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is that the water that was found? :twitch:
Mar 31, 2014
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It looks eerily similar to the deserts back in Chile.
Sep 1, 2010
6,420 (2.00/day)

MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars' atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. MAVEN measurements indicate that the solar wind strips away gas at a rate of about 100 grams every second.

The solar wind is a stream of particles, mainly protons and electrons, flowing from the sun's atmosphere at a speed of about one million miles per hour. The magnetic field carried by the solar wind as it flows past Mars can generate an electric field. This electric field accelerates electrically charged gas atoms in Mars' upper atmosphere and shoots them into space.

The incoming energetic electrons are accelerated by a transient electric field along the residual magnetic field lines to interact with the carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere, resulting in the ultraviolet emission.

MAVEN has been examining how solar wind and ultraviolet light strip gas from of the top of the planet's atmosphere. New results indicate that the loss is experienced in three different regions of the Red Planet: down the "tail," where the solar wind flows behind Mars, above the Martian poles in a "polar plume," and from an extended cloud of gas surrounding Mars. The science team determined that almost 75% of the escaping ions come from the tail region, and nearly 25% are from the plume region, with just a minor contribution from the extended cloud. Solar wind erosion is an important mechanism for atmospheric loss, and was important enough to account for significant change in the Martian climate.
Sep 1, 2010
6,420 (2.00/day)

Curiosity images and one epic image by HIRSE, see below:

Cydonia Region

The paleochannel system has wind-blown bedforms in its interior, with crests oriented approximately perpendicular to the channel walls. The large rocky patch near the center of the image shows some evidence of bedding as would be expected for a river delta or other water-lain sediments, but the rough dissected nature of outcrops and superimposed aeolian bedforms and other sediments makes identification of this feature difficult.
Sep 1, 2010
6,420 (2.00/day)
Indifferent rocks exposed to ultraviolet loneliness; boulders; emptiness; craters and ...

... and marching Dust Devils

On an early fall afternoon in Ganges Chasma (Valles Marineris), scientists managed to capture a cluster of dust devils. They’re together on a dark sandy surface that tilts slightly to the north, towards the Sun.

Both of these factors help warm the surface and generate convection in the air above. The surface is streaked with the faint tracks of earlier dust devils. A pair of dust devils appears together at top right, spaced only 250 m apart. These two have quite different morphologies. The bigger one (on the right) is about 100 m in diameter and is shaped like a doughnut with a hole in the middle. Its smaller companion is more compact and plume-like, but it too has a small hole in the center, where the pressure is lowest. It may be that the smaller dust devil is younger than the larger one.
Sep 1, 2010
6,420 (2.00/day)
In the next few days, the rover will get its first close-up look at these dark dunes, called the "Bagnold Dunes," which skirt the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. No Mars rover has previously visited a sand dune, as opposed to smaller sand ripples or drifts. One dune Curiosity will investigate is as tall as a two-story building and as broad as a football field. The Bagnold Dunes are active: Images from orbit indicate some of them are migrating as much as about 1 meter per Earth year. No active dunes have been visited anywhere in the solar system besides Earth.

"We've planned investigations that will not only tell us about modern dune activity on Mars but will also help us interpret the composition of sandstone layers made from dunes that turned into rock long ago," said Bethany Ehlmann of the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, both in Pasadena, California.

Sep 1, 2010
6,420 (2.00/day)

A witness to a wet early Mars

Vast volumes of water once flooded through this deep chasm on Mars that connects the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the Solar System – Valles Marineris – to the planet’s northern lowlands.

The image, taken by ESA’s Mars Express on 16 July, focuses on Aurorae Chaos, close to the junction of Ganges, Capri and Eos Chasmata.

Aurorae Chaos measures roughly 710 km across (a smaller section is shown here) and plunges some 4.8 km below the surrounding terrain.

The region is rich in features pointing to wet episodes in the history of the Red Planet. Dominating the southern (left) portion of the scene are numerous jumbled blocks – ‘chaotic terrain’, believed to form when the surface collapses in response to melting of subsurface ice and the subsequent sudden release of water.

Towards the center of the image is the smoother floor of Ganges Chasma, comprising mostly alluvial deposits, and which transitions into a steep scarp and a cratered plateau to the north (right).

The northern plateau shares the same elevation as that on the southern side, but does not exhibit similar levels of catastrophic collapse.

However, the cliff tops display small channels and the walls show evidence of slumped material or landslides – best seen in the perspective view. Material closest to the main chasma floor appears stepped, which could reflect different water or ice levels over time.

Another interesting feature can be seen towards the upper center and to the left in the main images, where a pair of faults cuts through a collapsed block, and perhaps extends into the southern plateau at the top of the image.

The faults could be the result of a tectonic event that occurred after the formation of the chaotic terrain, or they could be from simple subsidence.

This region is just a small subsection of a huge system of interconnected valleys and flood channels that emptied water into the northern plains, and which were most likely active in the first 1–2 billion years of Mars’ history.