The longer the movement of people in the north polar region of the planet, the higher are the sand waves.
it’s part of the story, our series explores the Red Planet.
Still photos of Mars from above and on the ground make the Red Planet look like an unremarkable place. New research on the “megaripels” of Mars reveals how the planet is reshaping itself as these sandy formations migrate with the wind.
A paper published late last year in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets describes megaripples as “typical wind-driven bedforms occurring on the surface of Earth and Mars, often of the size between small waves and large dunes. With.” They can be as tall as a person.
The study used images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera to examine dune regions in the planet’s north polar region. “The megacaripels were found widely throughout the region and are migrating at relatively high rates compared to other sites on Mars,” said lead author Matthew Choznaki in a statement to the Planetary Science Institute on Wednesday.
Researchers originally thought that the megaripples on Mars were relics from the past, like static sculptures from a time when the planet was more geologically active. It seemed that the coarse grains that the waves were made of would be very difficult to move with the winds of Mars. But a 2020 study found that some of Mars’ megaripples are migrating near the equator.
The new paper adds to scientists’ understanding of what is happening to these structures near the pole.
NASA’s orbiter gave Choznaki six Mars years (13 Earth years) worth of images to work with. “We found that the thin Martian atmosphere may have coalesced into some coarse-grained megaripples, overturning earlier assumptions that these were stable remnant landforms from past climates,” he said.
Megaripples seem to hibernate during the polar winter when carbon dioxide and water ice cover the land, but move during the windy period in late spring and summer.
HiRise provides evidence of changes in Mars’ landscapeTo The moving megaripples are the latest testament to the Red Planet’s ability to embrace change.