Planet MarsMars Art Gallery

Martian Sand Writing

Martian Sand Writing

Image Title: Martian Sand Writing
Source: Mars Global Surveyor


I had been looking at Mariner and Viking orbiter pictures of Mars for years but was not prepared for the natural beauty and form of the many dunes seen in images that the Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle camera returned to Earth. In fact the MGS images of dunes were the prime motivation in my decision to present Mars as art rather than as simply another planet. The dunes shown in this picture are part of the vast north polar sand sea in the Mare Boreum quadrangle.

The picture shown above, and available as a wallpaper download, is a subsection of a full frame image that I originally used in my presentations on the Mars Global Surveyor science results. I named the full frame version Martian Sand Writing because the form and orientation of the dunes bore a strong resemblance to an ornate script. Figure 1 below shows a greatly reduced full frame version of that image.

Full Frame version of Martian Sand Writing

Figure 1. Full frame version of Martian Sand Writing

Source Image Background

This image was created from a Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle Camera image taken in June 1999, which was late summer in the northern hemisphere of Mars. For scale, the height (vertical dimension) of the image is approximately 3.2 kilometers.

Image Processing

All processing of this image was done with Adobe Photoshop. This is a false color image as all images taken with the Narrow Angle camera are done without the use of any color filter. Note that to increase the density of dunes in this image, the dunes that appear in the upper left portion of the image were relocated there from an area immediately to the left in the image shown (see Figure 1 to compare the two images). The orientation of the replicated dunes with respect to the original dunes was maintained.

Wallpaper Download

I have created a low resolution version of Martian Sand Writing for use as a desktop wallpaper. I am making this wallpaper available for your personal use only. It is not to be modified or redistributed in any form by any means. All rights are retained by the artist.

Martian Sand Writing, 1280 x 1024 Wallpaper Image by Jim Plaxco

2005 Jim Plaxco,