Knob in the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Knob in the South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars
ESP_032020_0955  Science Theme: Polar Geology
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The South Polar Layered Deposits of Mars are a thick stack of layers of ice and dust, deposited over millions of years. The rate of deposition changes over time, and in some times and places the stack is eroded.

Here, a low mesa or ring of hills occurs near the edge of the layered deposits. It is likely that this feature was once an impact crater. The floor of the crater became resistant, and was left behind as the rest of the surface eroded.

Images like this one can show us where the layered deposits are being eroded, and how much ice and dust has been lost. This, in turn, helps us understand the history recorded in the layers.

Written by: Colin Dundas   (10 July 2013)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_023066_0955.

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Acquisition date:26 May 2013 Local Mars time:16:23
Latitude (centered):-84.464° Longitude (East):12.121°
Range to target site:249.2 km (155.7 miles)Original image scale range:49.9 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~150 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:50 cm/pixelMap projection:Polarstereographic
Emission angle:6.5° Phase angle:70.2°
Solar incidence angle:74°, with the Sun about 16° above the horizon Solar longitude:325.1°, Northern Winter

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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.