Curiosity Catches Moving Martian Sands

This pair of images shows effects of one Martian day of wind blowing sand underneath NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on a non-driving day for the rover. Each image was taken just after sundown by the rover’s downward-looking Mars Descent Imager (MARDI). The area of ground shown in the images spans about 3 feet (about 1 meter) left-to-right.

The first image was taken on Jan. 23, 2017, during the 1,587th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. Figure A is this image with a scale bar in centimeters. The second was taken on Jan. 24, 2017 (Sol 1588). The day-apart images by MARDI were taken as a part of investigation of wind’s effects during Martian summer, the windiest time of year in Gale Crater.

When Curiosity landed inside Gale Crater in August 2012, MARDI recorded the descent from the rover’s point of view. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates MARDI. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, and built the project’s Curiosity rover.

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