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Rocks on Mars are in some areas scattered in a strangely uniform fashion, puzzling scientists for years. Now they've figured it out.
Researchers had thought the rocks were picked up and carried downwind by extreme high-speed winds thought to occur on Mars in the past.
Although Mars is a windy planet, its atmosphere is very thin, so it would be difficult for the wind to carry the small rocks, which range in size from a quarter to a softball, said Jon Pelletier, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Pelletier and his colleagues now think the rocks are constantly on the move, rolling into the wind, not away from it, and creating a natural feedback system that results in their tidy arrangement.