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This image shows sand in the Martian terrain.
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Image from: JPL/NASA

Martian Sand

Fluvial environments (water) are the origin of sand grains on Earth, but what of Mars? Sand grains of Mars come from basalt. They seem to be particles which are cemented together, rather than rounded crystalline fragments such as sand grains on Earth.

Sand is an important agent of erosion, although another important weathering mechanism on Mars is Acid Fog.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Basalt Rocks

Basalt is a hard, black extrusive igneous rock. It is the most common type of rock in the Earth's crust and it makes up most of the ocean floor. The prevalence of dark minerals such as pyroxene and olivine...more

Mars Odyssey

The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001 (02:30 Universal...more

Mars 2005

The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more

Aerobraking

On September 12, 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor successfully entered a highly elliptical orbit around Mars. To get into the near-circular, near-polar, low-altitude orbit necessary to map the surface of...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Olympus Mons

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the altitudes of things. The instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Martian Global Hemispheres

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the altitudes of things. The instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Volcano Altitudes

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the altitudes of things. The instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement...more

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