Disappearing Boulder Tracks
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Disappearing Boulder Tracks
ESP_026055_1985  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
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This image was taken in February 2012, in order to compare against image ESP_017985_1985, which was acquired in May 2010. These two images are separated by approximately one Mars year.

The original image showed a prominent series of dark markings that are the tracks left by boulders as they rolled and bounced down the slope. As they do this, they set off miniature dust avalanches. The bright, fine dust slides away, leaving a darker, larger grained dust underneath.

This follow-up image shows that the smaller dark tracks are gone, and the larger ones have faded considerably. This is most likely due to the fine bright dust that is transported in the atmosphere falling down and re-covering the dark markings.

Written by: Ross A. Beyer   (18 April 2012)

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Acquisition date
16 February 2012

Local Mars time:
15:04

Latitude (centered)
18.055°

Longitude (East)
99.708°

Range to target site
284.9 km (178.1 miles)

Original image scale range
28.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
8.5°

Phase angle:
35.4°

Solar incidence angle
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
71.4°, Northern Spring

North azimuth:
97°

Sub-solar azimuth:
20.8°
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Postscript
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.