Exposed Ice in Fresh Crater
Exposed Ice in Fresh Crater
ESP_018273_2245  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Previous HiRISE images of fresh craters in the middle to high northern latitudes show exposed water ice on the poleward-facing slopes. The enlarged image shows an approximately 6 meter-diameter crater. Based on “before” and “after” images acquired by the Odyssey THEMIS and MRO CTX cameras, respectively, this crater formed some time between April 2004 and January 2010.

The crater is at a latitude of 44 degrees north and is itself located on the ejecta of a larger crater. The image was acquired in early summer, when frost at this latitude is not expected. It is therefore believed that the bright blue material in this false-color color image is subsurface ice that was exposed by the impact.

This ice is probably at the same depth and has a similar origin to that excavated by the Phoenix lander back in 2008. The area of exposed ice based on the HiRISE images is about 1 to 2 square meters (or, 10 to 20 square feet).

Written by: Nathan Bridges  (4 August 2010)
Acquisition date
20 June 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
303.2 km (188.4 miles)

Original image scale range
30.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~91 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
107.1°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  353.6°
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Black and white
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non-map           (565MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (404MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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RGB color
non map           (393MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
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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.