NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this intriguing view of “corduroy” sand dunes rippling across the permanent polar cap of Mars. The dunes “march across a fabric of patterned ground,” according to a NASA caption that explains “at this time of the Martian year the dunes are free of the seasonal dry ie that forms a temporary cover every winter.” Launched in 2005, the MRO braked into orbit around the red planet in 2006 to study the history and distribution of water. Its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, which took the image seen here, is one of the most powerful cameras ever launched aboard a planetary spacecraft.
Engineers troubleshoot Mars rover sample collection failure
See the Moon join the morning planets on 6-7 November
If you have a clear sky to the southeast an hour before sunrise on the morning of Friday, 6 November you will be greeted by a pairing of the old, waning crescent Moon with largest planet Jupiter. Then, on Saturday, 7 November, a slimmer crescent Moon joins planets Mars and Venus for an even closer triple conjunction. Have your binoculars and cameras ready!