Chaos in Eridania Basin
Chaos in Eridania Basin
ESP_037142_1430  Science Theme: Geologic Contacts/Stratigraphy
Eridania is the name of topographically enclosed basin located in the southern highlands of Mars that has been suggested to be the site of a large ancient lake or inland sea.

A chaotic jumble of relatively bright blocks sits on the lowest floor regions of the basin, sampled in this image. These blocks contain a variety of hydrated minerals that could have formed in the water, perhaps preserving information about an ancient habitable environment.

This lake or sea partially drained to form the Maadim Vallis, a large channel that itself drained into Gusev Crater to the north. The Spirit rover landed in Gusev Crater in 2004 to study the expected lake deposits, but found that the floor of the crater had been covered by lava that was younger than the fluvial activity.

Eridania is a better place to find lake sediments, but is too rough and dangerous for the landing systems sent to Mars in the past.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (10 September 2014)
Acquisition date
29 June 2014

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.0 km (157.8 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
72°, with the Sun about 18° above the horizon

Solar longitude
153.5°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  35.8°
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   (391MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (232MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (226MB)
non-map           (239MB)

IRB color
map projected  (111MB)
non-map           (251MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (384MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (376MB)

RGB color
non map           (227MB)
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.