A Frost Enhanced Landscape
A Frost Enhanced Landscape
ESP_042895_2495  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
The arc of hills in this image is the rim of an old and infilled impact crater. The sediments that were deposited within the crater have since formed polygonal cracks due to repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. The process of polygon formation is common at these polar latitudes, but polygons are not always as striking as they are here. In this image, the polygons have been highlighted by persistent frost in the cracks.

The crater rim constrains the polygon formation within the crater close to the rim, creating a spoke and ring pattern of cracks. This leads to more rectangular polygons than those near the center of the crater. The polygons close to the center of the crater display a more typical pattern. A closer look shows some of these central polygons, which have smaller polygons within them, and smaller polygons within those smaller polygons, which makes for a natural fractal!

Written by: HiRISE Targeting Specialists (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (23 December 2015)
Acquisition date
20 September 2015

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
313.7 km (194.9 miles)

Original image scale range
31.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~94 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon

Solar longitude
44.3°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  100°
Sub-solar azimuth:  320.3°
Black and white
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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map-projected   (632MB)

IRB color
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Black and white
map-projected  (273MB)
non-map           (282MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (240MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (186MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (171MB)

RGB color
non map           (213MB)

B&W label
Color 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.