Chain of Pits on Arsia Mons
Chain of Pits on Arsia Mons
ESP_016978_1730  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
The lower flanks of Arsia Mons, one of the giant volcanoes on Mars, is riddled with pits of various sizes. These have been of great interest to a number of researchers because they have the potential to be openings into underground caverns.

Such caverns have some potential for holding ice and offer protection from radiation and small meteorites. These are good things if one is looking for a safe place for current life on Mars or future human life.

However, this image shows some of the pitfalls of such hopes. Most of these pits are largely filled with rubble and dust that hide any potential links to larger underground areas. Furthermore, the entrances are steep and rocky, making them difficult areas to traverse. They would be a very exciting, if not safe, place to visit!

Note: there is also an anaglyph captionfor this observation.

Written by: Lazlo Kestay  (21 April 2010)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_017189_1730.
Acquisition date
11 March 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
255.6 km (158.8 miles)

Original image scale range
25.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~77 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
54°, with the Sun about 36° above the horizon

Solar longitude
62.5°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  39.8°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (808MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (351MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (395MB)
non-map           (483MB)

IRB color
map projected  (120MB)
non-map           (366MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (194MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (186MB)

RGB color
non map           (347MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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:

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. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.