Avalanche Number 3

I never tire of the images coming from the HiRISE satellite in orbit around Mars, and I especially never tire of its penchant for taking snaps of Martian Avalanches in progress. This latest clearly image shows a plume of dust billowing at the foot of the cliff after the debris fall. The falling item is most likely a chunk of carbon dioxide frost that formed on the scarp over the winter months, just now being warmed enough by the longer daylight to disrupt the coherence and initiate a collapse.

Our Mars spacecraft, landers and rovers are slowly forming a catalog of geological events such as this as they occur on Mars, which is to all intents and purposes a dead world that has lost the bulk of its internal heat and is now at a stage in its lifespan where its atmosphere is in danger of being completely stripped away too. Mars is still our closest 'habitable' neighbor, and if we are to someday live there we will need to understand what we are letting ourselves in for.

We now have so much information flowing from Mars that it is almost as if we are actually there taking these pictures ourselves, but of course we're not there yet. We have a long way to go before we are able to send people to the red planet and even further away from being able to stay there permanently. Images like this do serve to maintain the 'cool' factor of space exploration but they are sadly under exposed in the mainstream media. A mention here and there at least keeps it current in the public mind, and competing with the latest star to get booted from a dancing show is no mean feat.

If you think things like this are cool, link to Spacers on your social favorite media or say something cool about it on your status. The things that happen in space are invariably good news, so every little bit of exposure helps to keep it as the current shiny thing. And hey, you just might be saving someone from having to watch the latest reality show about famous bowel movements. You know that's next!

Here are the previous Spacers Avalanche posts.

Avalanche #1: http://spacers.blogspot.com/2008/03/spacers-is-alive.html

Avalanche #2: http://spacers.blogspot.com/2010/03/another-mars-avalanche.html

And check out the HiRISE website: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/

Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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