Dunes on floor of Rutherford Crater, as seen by CTX camera (on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). Note: this is an enlargement of the previous image.
Rutherford Crater is an impact crater in the Oxia Palus quadrangle on Mars at 19.2° N and 10.7° W. and is 110.5 km in diameter. Its name was approved in 1973, and it was named after Ernest Rutherford. Some close up images of the crater show dunes and light-toned material. Light-toned rocks on Mars have been associated with hydrated minerals like sulfates. The Mars Rover Opportunity examined such layers close-up with several instruments. Scientists are excited about finding hydrated minerals such as sulfates and clays on Mars because they are usually formed in the presence of water. Places that contain clays and/or other hydrated minerals would be good places to look for evidence of life.