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Mars Digital Dune Database

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mars Dunes database screenshot
Mars Digital Dune Database


The Mars Global Digital Dune Database presents data and describes the methodology used in creating the database. The database provides a comprehensive and quantitative view of the geographic distribution of moderate- to large-size dune fields from 65° north to 65° south latitude and encompasses approximately 550 dune fields.

The database is presented in a variety of formats. It is presented as a series of ArcReader projects which can be opened using the free ArcReader software. The latest version of ArcReader can be downloaded at the ESRI web site. The database is also presented in ArcMap projects. The ArcMap projects allow fuller use of the data, but require ESRI ArcMap software. Multiple projects were required to accommodate the large number of images needed. A fuller description of the projects can be found in the Dunes_ReadMe file and the ReadMe_GIS file in the Documentation folder. For users who prefer to create their own projects, the data is available in ESRI shapefile and geodatabase formats, as well as the open Geographic Markup Language (GML) format. A printable map of the dunes and craters in the database is available as a Portable Document Format (PDF) document. The map is also included as a JPEG file. ReadMe files are available in PDF and ASCII (.txt) files. Tables are available in both Excel (.xls) and ASCII formats.

USGS: Mars Digital Dune Database - Download the database and view additional information

USGS Astro: Mars Dunes - learn more about the project and participants

Solar System Poetry

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stuart Atkinson, a U.K. writer and amateur astronomer, maintains a blog of his beautiful solar system poetry called The Verse. A snippet from his poem entitled "Titan":

The first time I saw you
I was twelve. Standing alone
In the crisp Christmas snow, eyes watering
With the cold I peered into my new
Telescope’s eyepiece and there you were:
A tiny – golden? – glint, a hint,
A spark of light beside
The badly-focussed globe of Saturn.

Looking at you even then I knew
That “moon” was far too shy a word.
Centuries of spying on you
Had revealed to Man the Truth,
That you were a World, a Planet
In all but name. Plaque-carrying Pioneers
And Voyagers had already sailed past you,
Cameras clicking in the cold
Of space, but your face remained
Hidden beneath that veil of ochre,
Choking cloud; our first emissaries found
No Mariner mountains poking through…

Read more on The Verse...