NASA Orbiter Snaps Beautiful Martian Dunes
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been capturing awe-inspiring images of the red planet for almost 8 years now, but this particular shot is one of our favourites. Taken in November 2013, the image shows a collection of dunes which have bubbled up on the western rim of the red planet's Hellas Basin. Called Barchan, these dunes are formed when winds on the planet's surface blow in the same direction for a sustained period of time and the effect is a shape that one could easily mistake as a crashed alien spacecraft. These mysterious and beautiful dunes have even been known to creep their way along the planet's surface as the fierce martian winds chase material across the planet's surface.
This particular image also marked a significant milestone in MRO's mission. The delivery of this photograph tipped MRO's total data send over the 200 terrabit mark, which when you consider that each terrabit is 1000 gigabits, is a remarkable achievement.