Martian Gullies Glow Golden in the Winter Like Some Place Full of Riches

Gullies in the Kaiser Crater on Mars 6 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
Kaiser Crater on MarsKaiser Crater on MarsKaiser Crater on MarsKaiser Crater on MarsKaiser Crater on Mars
Craters, dunes, slopes, streaks, gullies, and the largest canyon in the solar system. These are just a few of the many interesting features we’re uncovering on the neighboring planet Mars, all exposed, on account of the lack of vegetation and liquid water to cover them up, to our curious mechanical eye that circles the planet high above in orbit.
Since it arrived there in 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has sent back close to 70,000 photos of the planet, making for one of the most extensive image archives of an alien world we humans own.

Among those 70,000 pics is this one here, captured by the MRO’s HiRISE camera back in 2016 from an altitude of 251 km (156 miles), and recently brought back into focus by NASA and the University of Arizona, who run the device.

Depicted here are the “giant sand dunes in Kaiser Crater,” as they appear after they’ve been subjected over time to “gully erosion of the steep slip faces.“ This phenomenon takes place every year in late winter, because of the sun that warms the slopes and causes carbon dioxide frost to enter a sublimation process, going straight from solid form to gas.

In the process of doing so, some of the gullies located on the west-facing slopes of the dunes get tinted in a variety of colors, and they even get a certain glow to them, as is this case with the gold-ish one that makes them look like a place full of riches, as seen here.

As for the Kaiser Crater, the place is 207 km (129 miles) in diameter and is located in Noachis Terra region of Mars. It contains countless dunes, some of them with debris flows that might have been caused at some point in the past by liquid water.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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