Science and Tech
You Shall Not Pass! ...This Strange Science Pic Quiz

Marshall Lemon | 14 Nov 2014 18:00
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Mars

This one is admittedly a little tricky at first just because it's hard to tell whether you're looking at an extreme close-up or an extreme zoom-out. So let's just give you a hint (it's zoomed wayyy out) and see if that helps. Any ideas?

That's the surface of Mars.

Specifically, this is an enhanced color close-up of dunes located in Abalos Undae. Even though we haven't really spent much time on the surface of Mars, we've spent all kinds of time training telescopes on the surface to see what we can find out. In this case, the blue sections indicate a basaltic composition in the dunes. Meanwhile, those lighter areas are probably covered in dust.

The fact that you can see ripples on the dunes suggests they formed much the same way our sand dunes do: Because of wind patterns on the planet's surface. That suggests that even if Mars is a cold, dry, world, it's still a very active one, which will be very important if we ever get around to settling a colony over there.

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