Dragon Scales of Mars
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Dragon Scales of Mars
ESP_050275_1500  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry


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This intriguing surface texture is the result of rock interacting with water. The rock was then eroded and later exposed to the surface. The pinkish, almost dragon-like scaled texture represents Martian bedrock that has specifically altered into a clay-bearing rock.

The nature of the water responsible for the alteration, and how it interacted with the rock to form the clay remains poorly understood. Not surprisingly, the study of such altered rocks on Mars is an area of active investigation by the Mars science community. Understanding such interactions, and how they happened, help scientists to understand the past climate on Mars, and if the red planet ever harbored life.

Recent studies indicate that the early Martian climate may not have been as warm, wet, and Earth-like, as previously suggested. This is not a problem for finding life on Mars as one might think. Ongoing studies of dry and cold environments on Earth shows that life finds ways to adapt to such extremes. Such work provides hope for finding evidence for life on other planets, like Mars, someday.

Written by: Livio L. Tornabene, Jon Kissi, Zach Morse and Gavin Tolometti (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (11 July 2017)
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Acquisition date
17 April 2017

Local Mars time:
14:12

Latitude (centered)
-29.625°

Longitude (East)
202.667°

Range to target site
253.3 km (158.3 miles)

Original image scale range
25.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~76 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
0.3°

Phase angle:
40.9°

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
351.1°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  38.4°
JPEG
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

JP2
Black and white
map-projected   (331MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (198MB)

JP2 EXTRAS
Black and white
map-projected  (151MB)
non-map           (189MB)

IRB color
map projected  (47MB)
non-map           (177MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (83MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (80MB)

RGB color
non map           (175MB)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
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

USAGE POLICY
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.