Potential Landing Site in Nili Fossae
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Potential Landing Site in Nili Fossae
PSP_006633_2010  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites


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The Nili Fossae are valleys that have cut into the ancient crust of Mars, exposing clay minerals. These minerals formed in the presence of water and may be the result of chemical reactions between hot water and rocks. If so, this could have been a favorable location for Martian life in ancient times.

This HiRISE image is part of a series in search for a safe place the Mars Science Laboratory rover can land. In the central part of the image, the terrain is a mix of sand dunes and relatively smooth rock exposures. There are some small knobs but very few large rocks in the area. Instead, the multi-colored rock exposures seem to be mostly a mosaic of flat fractured rock.

On the southern edge of the image, an impact crater is a potential hazard. In the northern part of the image, the scarp marking the boundary of the valley is visible.Written by: Laszlo P. Keszthelyi   (9 February 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007556_2010.

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Acquisition date:26 December 2007 Local Mars time:14:22
Latitude (centered):20.995° Longitude (East):74.474°
Range to target site:280.7 km (175.4 miles)Original image scale range:28.1 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:5.1° Phase angle:43.8°
Solar incidence angle:39°, with the Sun about 51° above the horizon Solar longitude:8.2°, Northern Spring

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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: Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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.