Potential Landing Site Near Mawrth Vallis
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Potential Landing Site Near Mawrth Vallis
PSP_006610_2035  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites


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Mawrth Vallis contains clay minerals that formed by chemical alteration of rocks by water. It is one of the short list of potential sites that the Mars Science Laboratory rover will land at, and the HiRISE team is working to find a safe place to land in this area.

This observation shows a wide variety of scientifically interesting terrains as well as some potential hazards for landing. The central part of the image is dominated by light-toned materials with curving fractures of many different sizes. These fractures do not have a preferred orientation, indicating that they did not form in response to some regional stress pattern.

Instead, they formed by some more uniform process, possibly the drying of a thick mud deposit or the gradual rebound of the area as the overlying material was eroded away. The scattered mounds and sand dunes may or may not prove to be a danger, but it is reassuring to see that many of the impact craters have been smoothed out with a filling of wind-blown sand. Written by: Laszlo P. Keszthelyi   (11 February 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008179_2035.

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Acquisition date:24 December 2007 Local Mars time:14:22
Latitude (centered):23.225° Longitude (East):342.402°
Range to target site:285.4 km (178.4 miles)Original image scale range:28.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:2.8° Phase angle:42.6°
Solar incidence angle:40°, with the Sun about 50° above the horizon Solar longitude:7.3°, Northern Spring

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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.