June 16, 2024

One Feature Mars has That we Don’t: Polar Megadunes

These images are part of a series taken by HiRISE to produce Martian Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of different geographical regions on Mars. HiRISE DTMs are made from 2 images of the very same area taken from various angles, then processed utilizing advanced software. These dunes are comparable to Barchan dunes (see image listed below), a feature that has been imaged by the MROs HiRISE and other Martian orbiters for decades.

Gill is a California-based software application engineer, planetary and environment data “wrangler,” and science data visualization artist with a long history of working with NASA. In addition to artistic renderings of space objectives, Solar bodies, and exoplanets, he is also renowned for his pictures of extraterrestrial environments. These images are gotten by NASA missions, which are white and black and unprocessed when they reach Earth.
Artists impression of the Chasma Boreale Megadunes. Credit: Kevin M. Gill/NASA/JPL/ University of Arizona/USGSE
By adding color, depth, and much better resolution, Gill is able to convey these extraterrestrial environments real depth and charm. This time around, Gill used images gotten by the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE)– a video camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)– of the Chasma Boreale area, a large canyon situated in the area of Marss northern polar ice cap.
These images become part of a series taken by HiRISE to produce Martian Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of various geographical areas on Mars. HiRISE DTMs are made from two images of the exact same area drawn from different angles, then processed utilizing advanced software. The DTM of the Chasma Boreale area (shown listed below) highlights the layered functions understood as “megadunes” that are the result of seasonal deposition from melting ice and dust storms.
These dunes are comparable to Barchan dunes (see image below), a function that has actually been imaged by the MROs HiRISE and other Martian orbiters for years. These dunes are situated in the northern polar reaches of Mars and are largely the outcome of wind-borne deposition. These same winds, triggered by seasonal temperature level variations between the northern and southern hemispheres, are what the barchan dunes their signature shape.
Data gotten by the MROs HiRISE instrument. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/USGS
These dunes are tough to detect during the winter season because they are covered in frost. The megadunes, in contrast, have the barchans beat in terms of size and might even contain secrets about Mars past.
To create his pictures of the megadunes, Gill processed the HiRISE information using Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) software application, an open-source geospatial data processing platform. The images were then rendered using the 3D computer system graphics software Blender and Adobe Lightroom, the cloud-based photo editing platform. The resulting images he created show what the megadunes appear like from the surface area.
These features could be experienced by surface area missions destined for the northern polar area in the near future. When the very first crewed objectives to Mars are conducted in the next decade, its likewise possible that astronauts will see them up-close! Studying these megadunes and other layered functions might reveal hints about how Mars climate altered, which would be apparent from how wind patterns and glacial melting changed gradually.
In the meantime, the artists rendering offers us with a glimpse of what we could be seeing soon!
Additional Reading: Kevin Gill (Flickr)/ AUHiRISE; LPL
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Even if youre not up on the most current astronomical news and developments, opportunities are youve still seen some of his images over the years. Amongst the newest images readily available on his official Flickr page are photos of an unique function on Mars: the Chasma Boreale Megadunes!

Even if youre not up on the newest huge news and developments, opportunities are youve still seen some of his images over the years. Amongst the most current images available on his official Flickr page are images of an unique feature on Mars: the Chasma Boreale Megadunes!