Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 November 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Yardangs Of Mars
Credit: Malin Space Science Systems, MGS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: OK, fans of classic science fiction might be disappointed. The yardangs are not barsoomian warriors in a newly discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs tale of adventure and conquest on the Red Planet. In fact yardangs, geologists' term for narrow, wind-eroded ridges, are common land features in the desert regions of planet Earth. Such Eolian (wind related) landforms are common on Mars too, and this recently released Mars Global Surveyor picture shows long, sculpted yardangs in the eastern Aeolis region of southern Elysium Planitia. These martian yardangs may have formed in deposits of volcanic ash. Covering a swath of the martian surface 2.5 kilometers high, this composite image does offer special effects, though. If you have red/blue glasses (red for the left eye) you can view the yardangs of Mars in astounding 3-D!

Tomorrow's picture: Sun Storm

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.