Lunar and Planetary Institute

'Nathan Bridges Dune' on Mars Honors Former LPI Intern

July 13, 2017
Mastcam's left-eye camera

The scene combines 112 images taken with Mastcam's left-eye camera on Feb. 5, 2017, during the 1,601st Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. The panorama has been white-balanced so that colors of the rock and sand materials resemble how they would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. The center is toward east-southeast and both ends are toward west-northwest. The dark butte on the horizon in the left half is "Ireson Hill." Upper Mount Sharp is on the horizon in the center. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


A rippled linear dune of dark Martian sand, "Nathan Bridges Dune," dominates this full-circle panorama from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. This dune was one research stop of the rover mission's campaign to investigate active Martian dunes.

The feature was informally named in 2017 in memory of Nathan Bridges (1966-2017), a planetary scientist who was a leader of the Curiosity team's dune campaign. Bridges was an integral part of multiple Mars missions and instrument teams. He was also an associate research professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught a class and advised graduate students.

1988 LPI interns

While an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado, Bridges was selected as a member of the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s summer intern program in 1988. He then went on to earn a B.A. in geology from the University of Colorado in 1989, an M.S. in geology from Arizona State University in 1992, and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Massachusetts in 1997. He spent 12 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, before joining APL’s Planetary Exploration (SRE) Group in 2009.

For more information visit:

‘Nathan Bridges Dune’ on a Martian Mountain
Curiosity Mars Rover Begins Study of Ridge Destination


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