New Delhi: Mars is so full of amazing surprises which scientists cherish, rejoice and share with space enthusiasts so that they can get a chance to do the same.
NASA's rovers Cassini and Opportunity have given so much to us in this regard, which will help future space missions to Mars, but this time, it is NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that has beamed back a stunning image of beautifully wind-textured rocks.
Yes, the image shared by the American space agency displays a distinctively fluted surface and elongated hills in Medusae Fossae on Mars, which are caused by wind erosion of a soft fine-grained rock.
These features, called yardangs, are aligned with the prevailing wind direction. As per NASA, This wind direction would have dominated for a very long time to carve these large-scale features into the exposed rock we see today. The image was acquired at 15:25 local Mars time on June 28, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.
As NASA explains the image in detail, yardangs not only reveal the strength and direction of historic winds, but also reveal something of the host rock itself. Close inspection by HiRISE shows an absence of boulders or rubble, especially along steep yardang cliffs and buttresses.
The absence of rubble and the scale of the yardangs tells us that the host rock consists only of weakly cemented fine granules in tens of meters or more thick deposits. Such deposits could have come from extended settling of volcanic ash, atmospheric dust, or accumulations of wind deposited fine sands. After a time these deposits became cemented and cohesive, illustrated by the high standing relief and exposed cliffs.