Southern Layered Mound and Floor in Gale Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Southern Layered Mound and Floor in Gale Crater
PSP_002464_1745  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
Spanish 

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This observation shows the interior of Gale Crater, a region being considered as a landing site for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory.

Gale is distinguished from many other craters on Mars by a large interior layered mound that extends to the height of the crater rim. The top part of this image contains portions of the southeast part of the mound, with the bottom part showing details of the crater floor.

The mound material here is exposed as several distinct smaller hills. Close up, the hills show abundant rocks and debris aprons on their flanks, lacking distinct bedrock layers seen elsewhere on Mars. This suggests that the mound material is friable and easily eroded by the wind over time.

Other evidence of wind activity includes bright bedforms near the top of the image and dark bedforms and sand sheets at bottom. Between the hills and dark sand are a series of stacked stratigraphic units. Polygons are visible in some of the units, indicating contraction due to water loss, cooling, or some other process. Many of the polygons appear highly fractured.

Possible crossbeds are seen in some of the rock exposures near the bottom of the image. This and other images of Gale will be studied over the coming months and years in order to better understand the geology and further assess the potential as a future landing site.

Written by: Nathan Bridges   (16 June 2010)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_003176_1745.

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Acquisition date
04 February 2007

Local Mars time:
15:42

Latitude (centered)
-5.519°

Longitude (East)
138.140°

Range to target site
268.3 km (167.7 miles)

Original image scale range
26.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~81 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
3.2°

Phase angle:
58.9°

Solar incidence angle
56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon

Solar longitude
178.1°, Northern Summer

North azimuth:
97°

Sub-solar azimuth:
10.1°
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USAGE POLICY
All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona



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.