Evidence for Water and Wind Processes in Gale Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Evidence for Water and Wind Processes in Gale Crater
PSP_001752_1750  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes


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This HiRISE color image strip (1.2 x 15 kilometers) shows a region just to the west of one of two possible Mars Science Laboratory landing ellipses within Gale Crater on Mars.

The footprint stretches from the cratered floor of Gale in the north (top) onto layered deposits that make up the central and southern (bottom) part of the image. The color is exaggerated over what would be seen by the human eye, but brings out details not apparent in a monochromatic image.

Bluish material is generally dark basaltic sand, commonly organized into bedforms. In the top part of the image, the terrain is divided between light colored rocky material and sand that fills craters and other low lying topography. Zooming in, the rocky material appears organized into polygonal patterns at the scale of a few meters. These may have formed from desiccation (drying) of an ancient lake within Gale.

The lower (southern) 2/3 of the image contain terrain with distinct benches, interpreted as exposed rock layers. The terrain blocks are generally v-shaped, indicating that they have been eroded by the wind. Zooming in, some of the terrain has a polygonal texture, similar to that in the lower part of the image. This is shown in the close-up image.

Written by: Nathan Bridges   (17 October 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_001488_1750.

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Acquisition date:10 December 2006 Local Mars time:15:41
Latitude (centered):-4.843° Longitude (East):137.298°
Range to target site:279.9 km (175.0 miles)Original image scale range:28.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:17.5° Phase angle:42.4°
Solar incidence angle:58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon Solar longitude:148.5°, 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.