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A verde valley on Mars

A verde valley on Mars
Click for original image.

In the southwest where I live, a valley dubbed “verde” (which means “green” in Spanish) is generally a place with a somewhat persistent river with lots of lush plant life. The Verde Valley in Arizona is the perfect example, with “close to 80% of the valley’s land … national forest.”

On Mars there is also a verde valley, but the name is not descriptive in the least. The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on January 22, 2023 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and shows one section of the Martian Verde Vallis, draining south to north.

The dark rippled patches inside this shallow canyon are sand dunes. In fact, though MRO has not taken many high resolution images of Verde Vallis, every one shows the valley with further patches of ripple dunes. See for example this image of a section of the valley just a bit farther north.

Overview map

The overview map to the right provides some context. The inset shows Verde Vallis, with the black dot marking the location of today’s cool image. The black square in the overview map shows the location in the southern cratered highlands, in the dry equatorial regions about 1,400 miles due east of where the rover Opportunity once roamed.

The Martian Verde Vallis, about seventy miles long, is a dry place. Its canyon might have once harbored either a river or a glacier draining downhill from the cratered highlands into Arabia Terra, the largest transition region leading to the northern lowland plains. Now only sand dunes travel its length, pushed along slowly by the thin Martian winds.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


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