Martian dunes in “V” formation

Date:10 July 2014 Tags:, , ,

Migratory birds and military aircraft often fly in a V-shaped formation. The “V” formation greatly boosts the efficiency and range of flying birds, because all except the first fly in the upward motion of air – called upwash – from the wingtip vortices of the bird ahead.

In this image of Martian dunes in a large crater near Mawrth Vallis, some of the dunes appear to be in a V-shaped formation. For dune fields, the spacing of individual dunes is a function of sand supply, wind speed, and topography.

This image was acquired by the HiRISE camera aboard Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 30 December 2013.

Image credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Caption credit:  Alfred McEwen