Dark Dunes On Mars Snapped By ESA’s Orbiter

The European Space Agency has released stunning images of dark dunes taken on Mars by Mars Express. The photos show Moreus Carter’s walls like they were painted with ink-splashes. Specialists at ESA presume that this appearance is “a result of the dunes comprising sandy material rich in pyroxene and olivine, minerals with a typically dark appearance.”

Moreux is a crater in the Ismenius Lacus quadrangle on Mars with a diameter of 138 kilometers. It was named after Theophile Moreux, a French astronomer and meteorologist (1867–1954).

The action of glaciers has shaped Moreux Crater’s appearance. Recent research discovered an extensive glacial modification of the surfaces of Moreux Crater’s rim, wall, and central peak. These changes were caused by the emplacement of ice-rich material when the climate underwent significant changes.

About the Dark Dunes on Mars

Impact craters generally have a rim with ejecta around them. In contrast, volcanic craters usually do not have rim or ejecta deposits. As craters get more significant than 10 km in diameter, they typically have a central peak. The peak is caused by a rebound of the crater floor following the impact. Sometimes craters expose layers that were buried, showing us what lies deep under the surface.

Mars Express is a space exploration mission being conducted by ESA. The Mars Express mission is exploring the planet Mars and is the first planetary mission attempted by the agency.

Arriving at Mars in 2003, it is the second-longest surviving, continually active spacecraft in orbit around a planet other than Earth, behind only NASA’s still active 2001 Mars Odyssey. When the latest mission will end in late 2020, another mission extension lasting until 2022 is expected.

The orbiter has been successfully performing scientific measurements since early 2004, high-resolution imaging and mineralogical mapping of the surface, radar sounding of the subsurface structure down to the permafrost, precise determination of the atmospheric circulation and composition, and study of the interaction of the atmosphere with the interplanetary medium.

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