From Ares 3 to Ares 4
From Ares 3 to Ares 4
ESP_042014_1760  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
We previously released stereo images of the Ares 3 landing site from Andy Weir’s “The Martian.” In the novel, stranded astronaut Mark Watney travels from the Ares 3 site to the Ares 4 site where a Mars Ascent Vehicle could get him into Mars orbit to rejoin a spacecraft and return home.

The Ares 4 site is on the floor of a very shallow crater in the southwestern corner of Schiaparelli Crater. Our image image shows a flat region that is entirely mantled by bright Martian dust. There are no color variations, just uniform reddish dust. At full resolution, we see a pervasive, pitted texture that is characteristic of many dust deposits on Mars. No boulders are visible, so the dust is probably at least a meter thick.

Past Martian rovers and landers from NASA have avoided such pervasively dust-covered regions for two reasons. First, the dust has a low thermal inertia, meaning that it gets extra warm in the daytime and extra cold at night, a thermal challenge to survival of the landers and rovers (and people). Second, the dust hides the bedrock, so little is known about the bedrock composition and whether it is of scientific interest.

There is morphologic evidence for layered rocks, and narrow curving structures that could be fluvial channels, so the bedrock geology could be quite interesting, but exploring this site would be like trying to do field work when there is several feet of snow on the ground. Then again, maybe the dust is cemented so it is easier to drive or walk on it, but it still hides the bedrock from easy access.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (30 September 2015)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_042647_1760.
Acquisition date
14 July 2015

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
266.9 km (165.9 miles)

Original image scale range
53.5 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~160 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
39°, with the Sun about 51° above the horizon

Solar longitude
12.6°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  19.7°
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   (329MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (162MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (136MB)
non-map           (198MB)

IRB color
map projected  (63MB)
non-map           (193MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (370MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (347MB)

RGB color
non map           (184MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

DTM 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.