Looking for an Impact Crater on a Dune
Looking for an Impact Crater on a Dune
ESP_025481_1385  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This dune field image was requested since a prior lower-resolution (THEMIS VIS) image of this area had suggested the possible presence of an impact crater on the dunes. Finding an impact crater on a dune field would be quite important: as of 2011, no craters have been found on Martian dunes, which strongly supports the hypothesis that the dune fields are very young features and either formed or have actively evolved during the last tens of thousands of years.

No crater is visible in this dune field image, which is consistent with the "active" and "fresh" appearance of these dunes: (1) they have sharp crestlines and (2) slipfaces (the downwind slope; generally pointing towards the south-southwest in this field, although there are some signs of a reversing slipface, implying that some past winds have pushed sand towards the northeast-north northeast) are generally very smooth in appearance, except for some small avalanche features (which form as sand accumulating at the upper-portion of the slipface).

The search for a dune-field crater will need to continue ...

Written by: Serina Diniega  (8 February 2012)
Acquisition date
02 January 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
250.9 km (155.9 miles)

Original image scale range
50.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
74°, with the Sun about 16° above the horizon

Solar longitude
51.8°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  51.8°
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   (219MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (143MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (105MB)
non-map           (134MB)

IRB color
map projected  (47MB)
non-map           (144MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (225MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (198MB)

RGB color
non map           (125MB)
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

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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.