Global Eyes on an Impact Prize
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Global Eyes on an Impact Prize
ESP_036059_1835  Science Theme: Impact Processes
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On 20 March 2014, a dark spot on the surface Mars, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) in diameter was seen for the first time in low-resolution (approximately 1 kilometer) imaging from the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Because MARCI sees essentially the whole planet every day, the sudden appearance of a dark spot was of note.

To follow up, the Context Camera (CTX) obtained a high resolution picture of the area in question in early April. Before and after imaging revealed two new large impact craters within the blast zone. At 6 meters per pixel, CTX can detect the dark blast locations but usually cannot resolve the crater that formed the blast, because most fresh impact craters are only a few meters across.

This is where the high resolution of HiRISE comes in: our camera was able to show the fine surface details within the blast zone. The largest of the new craters, appears slightly asymmetric in shape, and measures 159 x 143 feet (48.5 x 43.5 meters) in diameter, making it the largest new crater detected on Mars by MRO to date. Both HiRISE and CTX images also show numerous, new, small landslides within the blast zone.

All of these coordinated observations also demonstrate how different teams on the same spacecraft can work together to examine interesting features in greater detail.

Note: a newer image of this area, is also available and has an anaglyph.

JPL news release.

Written by: Bruce Cantor and Guy Webster   (22 May 2014)

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Acquisition date:06 April 2014 Local Mars time:15:22
Latitude (centered):3.349° Longitude (East):219.407°
Range to target site:275.6 km (172.3 miles)Original image scale range:27.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~83 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:11.3° Phase angle:62.3°
Solar incidence angle:53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon Solar longitude:112.5°, Northern Summer

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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.