This spectacular picture of the Martian landscape by the Viking 1 Lander shows a dune field with features remarkably similar to many seen in the deserts of Earth.
The dramatic early morning lighting - 7:30 a.m. local Mars time--reveals subtle details and shading. Taken yesterday (August 3) by the Lander s camera #1, the picture covers 100 , looking northeast at left and southeast at right. Viking scientists have studied areas very much like the one in this view in Mexico and in California (Kelso, Death Valley, Yuma). The sharp dune crests indicate the most recent wind storms capable of moving sand over the dunes in the general direction from upper left to lower right. Small deposits downwind of rocks also indicate this wind direction. Large boulder at left is about eight meters (25 feet) from the spacecraft and measures about one by three meters (3 by 10 feet). The meteorology boom, which supports Viking s miniature weather station, cuts through the picture s center. The sun rose two hours earlier and is about 30 above the horizon near the center of the picture.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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