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NASA probe spots possible source of sand on Mars

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

NASA's Reconnaisance (MRO) has beamed back an image showing one possible place where grains are being produced on the red planet today.

The region exhibits dark material that is being eroded from dark layers in the bedrock of a semicircular depression near the boundary of the Southern highlands and the Northern lowlands, researchers said.


Downslope lineations support the notion that these dark sediments are derived locally, and did not accumulate here by coincidence because of the winds.

The grains of that make up dunes on Earth and have a hazardous existence because of the way that they travel.

Wind-blown is lifted above the surface of each planet before crashing onto the ground and bouncing in a sequence of repeated hops, a process called saltation.

grains can also roll along the ground as they are blown by the wind, and they are also jostled by other gains that are similarly flying across the surface.

All of these repeated impacts tend to wear down the grains, smoothening them into a more spherical shape and breaking off small fragments that supply the vast dust deposits of

This process, known as comminution, ultimately destroys grains and limits the length of time that the particles exist.

The fact that we see active dunes on today requires that particles must be resupplied to replace the grains that are lost over time. However, modern day sources of on were not known.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 11 2017. 13:22 IST
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