Slope Streaks in Marte Vallis
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Slope Streaks in Marte Vallis
PSP_003570_1915  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes

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This image of a large hill in Marte Vallis has numerous dark- and light-toned streaks along its slopes, showing a variety of characteristics observed in other areas with these features.

For example, several dark streaks have formed "fingers" at their end points. Their formation may be due to the material "feeling" the roughness of the ground as it reaches shallower slopes near the base of the hill. The dark streaks also appear to travel over many obstacles along their paths, such as impact craters, small boulders, and rock outcrops. This indicates that the slope streaks have sufficient momentum and energy early in their descent downslope that they are not affected by such features or the ground.

The slope streaks also do not start at a common elevation along the sides of the hill, suggesting that they are not related to any particular layer(s) of material.

Dark slope streaks are thought to fade over time by deposition of new bright dust on top of streaked surface. The presence of light-toned streaks relative to their surrounding darker-toned surface is particularly interesting. Scientists have wondered: if dark streaks fade over time by deposits of new dust, then how can there be light-toned streaks? Does this mean light-toned streaks are formed differently? Are the materials of a light-toned streak different from dark-toned streaks?

Slope streaks have been discovered and studied since the early Mariner and Viking missions to Mars in the 1960s and 1970s. Scientists are hoping to resolve some of these questions using HiRISE images with its high spatial resolution compared to these previous Mars datasets.

Written by: Frank Chuang   (3 November 2010)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_003926_1915.

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Acquisition date
01 May 2007

Local Mars time:
15:24

Latitude (centered)
11.346°

Longitude (East)
180.996°

Range to target site
280.2 km (175.1 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 up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
5.9°

Phase angle:
64.4°

Solar incidence angle
59°, with the Sun about 31° above the horizon

Solar longitude
229.6°, Northern Autumn

North azimuth:
97°

Sub-solar azimuth:
334.9°
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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.