This is a picture of the Rover atop the Mermaid Dune.
Click on image for full size
The Mermaid Dune
During the Mars Pathfinder Rover's exploration of the Martian surface, it went over what scientists now call the "Mermaid Dune", covered with soils. The soil on top of Mermaid Dune seemed to have a dark gray component, indicating that the grains of soil may have originally been part of an igneous rock called basalt. Evidence of the existence of basalt would help scientists figure out the early volcanic history of Mars. However, when the Rover crossed the dune, it disturbed the soil and exposed a dark red soil underneath. A picture of the disturbed soil is shown here. Study of these dunes and soils contributed to an understanding of weathering processes on Mars.
There are many portions of Mars covered by sand dunes, including gaint sand dunes at the south polar region. These dunes consist of particles placed in motion by the mechanism of saltation, then picked up and carried around the globe in global dust storms.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
One of the objectives of the Mars Pathfinder mission was the examination of the composition of the soil and how it was laid down. As the Rover traversed the surface exploring the rocks of Mars, it also...more
Basalt is an extrusive igneous rock that is very dark in color. It is the most common type of rock in the Earth's crust and it makes up most of the ocean floor. It is made of many dark colored minerals...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The Odyssey is in its aerobraking phase right now....more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more
The Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars in September of 1997. But it didn't make it into its final mapping orbit until February 1999. What took so long? Surveyor needed to reach a near-circular, low-altitude...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more
Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement...more