Sand Dunes on #Mars are Different – a first for #NASA :) #space #science

Look under its wheels - not a sand dune

Look at its wheels – not a sand dune

No Mars rover has ever climbed a sand dune – only small drifts – but Curiosity is about to try. Martian dunes are active – they move, almost flow across the surface. That takes wind, but the thin atmosphere of Mars doesn’t pack much of a wallop (despite the storm that opens The Martian.)

In my scifi book Glory on Mars, I claim that wind is sorting sand dunes on the Tharsis Plain. (Geek alert: “sorting” describes the distribution of grain size in sediments). My settlers sinter the uniform sands of Tharsis into construction stone for their habitat – the settlers want well-sorted sand.

Perhaps NASA will find out if I’m right. Though Curiosity is in Aelois, two Martian Quadrangles away from Tharsis, so I guess I can always claim my sand is different.

The rover is moving slowly towards Dune 1 – 200 yards to go – good luck Curiosity. Thanks to newsledge.com

4 Books on Mars white background (500x500)In my stories of a  Martian colony, sand and dust are big players. Colonists extract water from the traces adsorbed in sand, and my dunes are deep, expansive sources of building material – robots sinter the grains into custom-shaped stone to construct habitats. But sometimes the dunes are treacherous :O  Check the stories out and let me know what you think.

All my books, including my On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. Read one today.

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