Tithonium Chasma
Tithonium Chasma
ESP_023029_1755  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
This complicated landscape of craters, slopes, and boulders is in an area called Tithonium Chasma, a large trough that is itself a part of the more well-known canyon system Valles Marineris.

Scientists are interested in imaging canyons such as these because they provide a view “under” the surrounding Martian surface to potentially older material beneath (similar to the Grand Canyon on Earth). This image shows the floor of the trough, although the walls of this canyon have also been imaged previously.

Evidence from the CRISM instrument, a spectrometer also aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, suggests sulfates and iron oxides exist in this general region, in the form of layered deposits. (Murchie, S. et al. 2009. A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Journal of Geophysical Research: 114.) It is unknown how far these deposits may extend beneath the surface.

In Greek mythology, Tithonos was the son of Troy’s King Laomedon. The goddess of the dawn, Eos, fell in love with him and kidnapped him, asking Zeus to make him immortal, but forgetting to ask to make him forever young. When Tithonos reached a very advanced age, only his voice was still young, and Eos no longer wanted him, so Zeus, to save Tithonos from torment, turned him into an insect that would never stop singing: the cicada.

Written by: Kristin Block  (13 September 2011)
Acquisition date
25 June 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
265.6 km (165.1 miles)

Original image scale range
from 26.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 53.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning)

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
34°, with the Sun about 56° above the horizon

Solar longitude
317.4°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  341.9°
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   (661MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (402MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (319MB)
non-map           (262MB)

IRB color
map projected  (145MB)
non-map           (373MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (218MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (211MB)

RGB color
non map           (372MB)
10K (TIFF)

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.