Candidate Landing Site over Potential Chloride Salt Deposits
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Candidate Landing Site over Potential Chloride Salt Deposits
ESP_016354_1745  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
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There is an intriguing surface unit in parts of the ancient Martian highlands that may consist of chloride salts (like NaCl, or table salt) which precipitated out of shallow lakes as in desert regions of Earth.

It has unusual thermal properties and distinctive morphologies, but lacks spectral absorption bands. All of these characteristics and the geologic settings are consistent with salt deposits. These deposits are often associated with clay minerals that do have distinctive absorption bands.

This particular location has been selected as a candidate landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory or another future rover. Hopefully the HiRISE images won't reveal too many boulders or steep slopes that would be hazardous.

Written by: Alfred McEwen   (17 March 2010)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007058_1745.

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Acquisition date:21 January 2010 Local Mars time:15:01
Latitude (centered):-5.625° Longitude (East):353.871°
Range to target site:289.8 km (181.1 miles)Original image scale range:29.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:24.5° Phase angle:31.8°
Solar incidence angle:50°, with the Sun about 40° above the horizon Solar longitude:41.0°, Northern Spring

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.