SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Star Birth, Active Sun, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Star Birth, Active Sun, More
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December 23, 2009--Looking like a row of jagged Antarctic icebergs, a recently released false-color picture actually depicts dark sand covering bright bedrock in the Terra Meridiani region of Mars.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped the shot in November 2006, as the Mars rover Opportunity (not pictured) explored Meridiani.

The regular spacing of dark ridges suggests sand was blown over the bright bedrock to form dunes and ripples. Data from Opportunity shows that the dark sand is mostly made of volcanic basalt, unlike most Earthly sand, which is primarily made of quartz.
— Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
 
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