NASA’s back with another ‘image of the day,’ and it’s a particularly striking one. The photo shows Mars’ sand dunes, which aren’t exactly a stunning feature given how many times we’ve seen them in past images. This new photo is different, however, as it includes a unique feature that ramps up the natural contrast in the environment.
According to NASA, the image shows sand dunes located in Mars’ northern plains, which reside at a high altitude and, in some cases, are ‘climbing up the crater slope.’ The features found in the main dune field are smooth, chaotic, and particularly striking.
The dunes feature earthy, dark hues, which are further accentuated by frosty edges. NASA explains that the stripes and other features in the sand dunes are the result of sublimated ice that comes with the ‘seasonal thaw.’
The image appears to show gullies; NASA says this effect is the result of material making a ‘broad downslope movement’ on the slopes of the crater. However, these ‘gullies’ don’t have the features that would be found on gullies on other parts of the Red Planet, including incised channels and alcoves.
This is one of many notable images NASA has shared under its curated Image of the Day collection, which includes everything from snapshots of the space agency’s work on technology to space observations and images from the various Mars rovers. The public can find, browse, and download the images on the NASA website here.