Rocky Mesas of Nilosyrtis Mensae Region
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Rocky Mesas of Nilosyrtis Mensae Region
PSP_003231_2095  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
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This image covers a region of science interest to which the Mars Science Laboratory rover might drive and explore.

The rover would need to first land in a nearby area that is flatter and less rocky so the chances of surviving the landing are high, but an acceptable landing site might be too far away to count on reaching these mesas.

Phyllosilicate (clay) minerals have been detected in this region by imaging spectrometers on the Mars Express and MRO spacecraft, and these minerals are of great interest in the search for evidence of life on ancient Mars.

Some day the capability may exist for precision landing and hazard avoidance, so a rover could be set down right next to rocky outcrops of interest for study, and perhaps collecting rock samples for return to Earth. The subimage illustrates some of these rocky mesas. It would take a person about 30 minutes to hike across this 1.1 kilometer wide area.
Written by: Alfred McEwen   (22 December 2010)

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Acquisition date:05 April 2007 Local Mars time: 3:28 PM
Latitude (centered):29.290° Longitude (East):73.287°
Range to target site:290.3 km (181.4 miles)Original image scale range:29.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:8.0° Phase angle:73.5°
Solar incidence angle:66°, with the Sun about 24° above the horizon Solar longitude:213.2°, Northern Autumn
For non-map projected products:
North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:332.8°
For map-projected products
North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:148.2°

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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.