Einstein and Mars
Einstein and Mars
ESP_045344_1420  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
In February 1917, Albert Einstein wrote in a letter: “It is a pity that we do not live on Mars and just observe man’s nasty antics by telescope.” We do have a telescope at Mars, but we use it to image Mars rather than Earth, such as this image of bizarre landforms in Gorgonum Basin.

This basin may have contained an ancient lake, with channels draining into the lake from the sides. After sediments are deposited, they become hardened to varying degrees, then eroded by the wind. More hardened bedrock will remain as high-standing topography following erosion of the weaker materials, perhaps inverting the initial forms. For example, high-standing linear or meandering topography may have been fluvial channels. The enhanced-color cutout shows some of the bedrock as well as dark sand.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (15 July 2016)
Acquisition date
29 March 2016

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
252.6 km (157.0 miles)

Original image scale range
51.1 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
73°, with the Sun about 17° above the horizon

Solar longitude
129.6°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  48.2°
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   (180MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (122MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (86MB)
non-map           (84MB)

IRB color
map projected  (40MB)
non-map           (118MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (195MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (178MB)

RGB color
non map           (107MB)

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.