Bedrock in a Trough in Asimov Crater
Bedrock in a Trough in Asimov Crater
ESP_035777_1320  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes
This image was acquired in southern winter over part of Asimov Crater, showing the equator-facing slope of a deep trough inside the crater. The crater appears to have been completely filled by a thick sequence of materials, perhaps including sediments and lava flows.

Later, deep troughs formed around the outer edge of the fill material, probably by collapse over void spaces at depth. What made the void space is not known, but one idea is that there were lenses of ice that slowly sublimated into the atmosphere. Another idea is that this is part of a sequence of crater fill and “exhumation”, that includes Gale Crater (home of the Curiosity rover). In other words, continued collapse and erosion of Asimov crater could eventually lead to a central mound like Eolis Mons (popular known as “Mt. Sharp”) in Gale Crater. However, at Asimov crater, the southern trough has destroyed the southern rim of the original crater, which didn’t happen at Gale Crater.

Many of these steep trough slopes in Asimov crater, where facing the equator, have recurring slope lineae (RSL) activity in the summer when the sun-facing slopes get warm. The RSL fade in the winter, so none are seen in this image even if they were present last summer. There are no previous HiRISE images acquired in the summer over this location.

Asimov Crater was named after Isaac Asimov, professor of biochemistry and prolific writer of science fiction and popular science books.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (26 March 2014)
Acquisition date
15 March 2014

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.5 km (157.6 miles)

Original image scale range
50.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
87°, with the Sun about 3° above the horizon

Solar longitude
102.5°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  49.1°
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   (226MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (140MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (84MB)
non-map           (82MB)

IRB color
map projected  (23MB)
non-map           (116MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (206MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (202MB)

RGB color
non map           (123MB)
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.