A Possible Landing Site in Aram Dorsum for the ExoMars Rover
A Possible Landing Site in Aram Dorsum for the ExoMars Rover
ESP_037030_1880  Science Theme: 
One of the important roles of HiRISE is to take high resolution images of potential landing sites for future landing missions.

This image is of an area called Aram Dorsum (also known by its old name, Oxia Palus) that has been suggested for the 2018/2020 ExoMars Rover, because it contains an ancient, exhumed alluvial system.

Imaging is needed both to check for boulder fields and other obstacles, as well as checking the scientific justification for choosing a site. This image is one part of what we call a stereo observation, where taking a view at a different angle from another orbit of the same areas will allow a 3D model (a digital terrain model) to be prepared. With this model, accurate measurements of slopes can then be made. Although it won't show the exhumed alluvial system, images of the area are needed to characterize the landing site.

The main image of the Aram Dorsum site contains a relatively fresh, 150-meter diameter impact crater with associated boulders. This small (1 kilometer square) part also shows signs of erosion into an overlying plateau, plus recent formation of some transverse aeolian ridges (called TARs) within the resulting valley. Overall, however, the site has relatively few obstacles for a lander.

Written by: John Bridges (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (27 August 2014)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_036740_1880.
Acquisition date
20 June 2014

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
275.0 km (170.9 miles)

Original image scale range
29.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~88 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
52°, with the Sun about 38° above the horizon

Solar longitude
149.0°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  16.6°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.