A Lost Thumb?

Contributed by Mohini Jodhpurkar

In this Mastcam-Z left-eye 110 mm Bayer filter image from Sol 15, rocks are scattered across Mars’ red, dusty surface. While this image does highlight features with different tones and surface morphologies, my eye was instantly drawn towards the dark and large shape (~1 meter wide) in the center of the image. But this isn’t a capsule or a remnant of a statue – instead, it is a ventifact, a rock shaped by windblown sand carving out its shape. Indeed, the dunes surrounding it show just how prevalent aeolian processes are.  Even though our mission has landed in Jezero with the aim to study ancient deposits, witnessing images like this showcases just how dynamic of an environment Mars continues to be.

March 6, 2021

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