The Color Palette of Nilosyrtis Mensae
The Color Palette of Nilosyrtis Mensae
ESP_028825_2070  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
The region of Mars north of the Syrtis Major volcanics and the Isidis impact basin has well-exposed bedrock with diverse compositions. These regions are dark so the colors aren't well seen except with a sensitive imager like HiRISE and special processing.

The blue and green colors are generally due to mafic (magnesium and iron rich) minerals that are not altered by water, while the warmer colors are due to altered minerals like clays. The structure in this scene is quite complex from a combination of impact and perhaps fluvial and volcanic processes, tectonic faulting, and erosion.

The terrain is very old and has experienced a complex geologic history.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (24 October 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_028680_2070.
Acquisition date
19 September 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
284.6 km (176.9 miles)

Original image scale range
30.3 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
55°, with the Sun about 35° above the horizon

Solar longitude
174.4°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  347.8°
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   (825MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (485MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (440MB)
non-map           (349MB)

IRB color
map projected  (159MB)
non-map           (316MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (222MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (212MB)

RGB color
non map           (314MB)
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.