Looking for Changes in Colorful Aureum Chaos
Looking for Changes in Colorful Aureum Chaos
ESP_030675_1765  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
Although Mars has a thin atmosphere, the wind is nevertheless strong enough to move some sand dunes and ripples (collectively termed “bedforms“). Such changes have been recorded by HiRISE. Our team is continuing to monitor areas with bedforms to see if they have moved.

This image, of Aureum Chaos, is one such region. Aureum Chaos is a jumbled assemblage of large terrain blocks that were disrupted by some ancient process. The edges of the blocks commonly display layered rock strata and the lower regions between the blocks can trap sand. Both are visible here.

In a preliminary comparison with another image acquired two Mars years ago, no bedform changes are obvious, although a more thorough analysis is still needed (the best way to determine if motion has occurred is to get a topographic model of the region and then “warp” the images to fit the topography, thereby removing distortions inherent in the viewing geometry). Nevertheless, this image is rich in geologic detail. If we zoom into one region, abundant, large ripples are visible toward the lower right. On the wall at middle to upper right, two colors of rock are visible, an upper yellowish unit and a lower whitish one. These likely represent distinct rock strata that were deposited before Aureum Chaos formed.

Written by: Nathan Bridges (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (20 March 2013)
Acquisition date
10 February 2013

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
268.4 km (166.8 miles)

Original image scale range
26.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~81 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
262.0°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  334.0°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
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Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
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RGB color
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Black and white
map-projected   (843MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (471MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (454MB)
non-map           (439MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (385MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (202MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (191MB)

RGB color
non map           (378MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB 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.