Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera

West Arabian Yardangs

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-852, 17 September 2004

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The upper crust of Mars consists of layered bedrock. The terrain located between large impact craters is layered. In some regions, some of these layers have been exposed by erosion. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows rounded and streamlined hills produced by wind erosion. In this case, the dominant, erosive winds blew from the upper right (northeast) toward lower left (southwest). The presence of these erosional forms, yardangs, indicates that the material being eroded contains some amount of sand-sized grains that are easily mobilized by wind. These particular yardangs are located in western Arabia Terra, northwest of the Sinus Meridiani region where the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, has examined ancient sedimentary rocks. These landforms are located near 9.4°N, 6.5°W. The image covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across and is illuminated by sunlight from the left.

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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.

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