Volcanic and Clay Materials Near Nili Fossae
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Volcanic and Clay Materials Near Nili Fossae
PSP_007055_2015  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes


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This image is located west of the Nili Fossae trough, one of the proposed landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory. Here, we combine information from two other MRO instruments, the Context Camera (CTX) and the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), to provide insight into the geology of the region.

The first subimage shows the CTX image, with the HiRISE footprint shown in yellow. This footprint covers dark and light terrain. Looking at the HiRISE image, the dark terrain is fairly featureless in some areas, whereas other parts, when zoomed in to high resolution, show ripples, sand deposits resulting from wind activity. The lighter terrain is bedrock.

Zooming in, this material commonly has a polygonal texture. The second subimage shows the HiRISE footprint with the location, shown as a red rectangle, of a color enhanced portion of the image; this color product is visible here. It combines HiRISE’s blue-green, red, and infrared filters and is enhanced to bring out detail.

By folding in data from CRISM, we can correlate the colors to materials and composition. The green and bluish colors represent a composition rich in mafic (iron- and magnesium-rich) minerals such as pyroxene and maybe olivine, with green having the greatest concentration. The green-blue material at the upper right is mostly rock, whereas the materials in the bedforms (at left) are composed of sand. The reddish materials are composed of magnesium- and iron-rich clays, possibly formed by ancient water that altered volcanic rock. In this scenario, the polygonal texture could represent cracks formed after the clays dried. CRISM also detects minor amounts of clay in the green and blue units.

Written by: Nathan Bridges   (30 June 2008)

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Acquisition date:28 January 2008 Local Mars time:14:35
Latitude (centered):21.241° Longitude (East):72.700°
Range to target site:280.5 km (175.3 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:0.2° Phase angle:39.1°
Solar incidence angle:39°, with the Sun about 51° above the horizon Solar longitude:23.8°, 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.