A Frost Enhanced Landscape
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A Frost Enhanced Landscape
ESP_042895_2495  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
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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 (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (23 December 2015)
 
Acquisition date
20 September 2015

Local Mars time
14:20

Latitude (centered)
69.086°

Longitude (East)
68.429°

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
Polarstereographic

Emission angle
2.9°

Phase angle
58.6°

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°
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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/JPL/University of Arizona

POSTSCRIPT
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.