THEMIS: Dunes in Kaiser Crater

Kaiser Crater dunes (THEMIS_IOTD_20180123)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 23, 2018. Kaiser Crater is located in the southern hemisphere in the Noachis region west of Hellas Planitia. Kaiser Crater is just one of several large craters with extensive dune fields on the crater floor. Other nearby dune filled craters are Proctor, Russell, and Rabe. Kaiser Crater is 207 km (129 miles) in diameter.

The dunes are located in the southeastern part of the crater floor. Most of the individual dunes in Kaiser Crater are barchan dunes. Barchan dunes are crescent shaped with the points of the crescent pointing downwind. The sand is blown up the low angle side of the dune and then tumbles down the steep slip face. This dune type forms on hard surfaces where there is limited amounts of sand. Barchan dunes can merge together over time with increased sand in the local area.

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69,000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions.

Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all.

For the next several months the Image of the Day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dune fields. We hope you enjoy these images!

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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