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We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
This is a picture of the Rover atop the Mermaid Dune.
Click on image for full size
JPL/NASA

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.


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Basalt Rocks

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF