Expanded Craters on Icy Terrain
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Expanded Craters on Icy Terrain
ESP_026510_2310  Science Theme: Climate Change
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The middle of this image contains a cluster of depressions (craters) with two levels: a small inner crater, surrounded by a shallow depression extending outward from the inner crater.

This image is located at 50 degrees north latitude, where shallow ice has been mapped by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. MRO has detected newly-formed impact craters in this broad region that exposed shallow ice, and also revealed that it is nearly pure ice.

One interpretation of the expanded craters visible here is that a group of small impacts, probably secondary craters from a much larger primary crater, exposed the clean, shallow ice in this region. Once exposed, the ice is unstable and sublimates (passes directly from ice to gas), and the shallow depressions could gradually expand.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio by Tre Gibbs)   (23 May 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_026998_2310.

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Acquisition date:23 March 2012 Local Mars time: 2:58 PM
Latitude (centered):50.721° Longitude (East):272.074°
Range to target site:302.2 km (188.9 miles)Original image scale range:60.5 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~181 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:50 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:0.4° Phase angle:42.6°
Solar incidence angle:42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon Solar longitude:86.9°, Northern Spring
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:346.3°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:160.3°

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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.