STS045-619-38

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Spacecraft nadir point: 38.6° N, 90.8° E

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Spacecraft Altitude: 162 nautical miles (300km)
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Image Caption:
STS045-619-038: Gobi Desert Yardangs Wind-erosion features ap-
pear here in fine detail. In softer rocktypes in deserts--where
protective soil and vegetation cover is lacking--winds are capa-
ble of etching out strange aerodynamic forms, known as yardangs.
These wind-eroded features have been described as resembling ship
hulls, fish fins and whalebacks. They vary in size from a few
feet to hundreds of feet long. Yardang fields occur in few parts
of the world, but can be seen here as a series of small, parallel
ridges. Although reported on in the early 1900's by the famous
Swedish explorer, Sven Hedin, few people have ever seen the Gobi
yardangs. These may be the first pictures of this yardang field
in the US space program.