Honeycomb-Textured Landforms in Northwestern Hellas Planitia
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Honeycomb-Textured Landforms in Northwestern Hellas Planitia
ESP_052430_1425  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
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This image targets a portion of a group of honeycomb-textured landforms in northwestern Hellas Planitia, which is part of one of the largest and most ancient impact basins on Mars.

In a larger Context Camera image, the individual “cells” are about 5 to 10 kilometers wide. With HiRISE, we see much greater detail of these cells, like sand ripples that indicate wind erosion has played some role here. We also see distinctive exposures of bedrock that cut across the floor and wall of the cells. These resemble dykes, which are usually formed by volcanic activity.

Additionally, the lack of impact craters suggests that the landscape, along with these features, have been recently reshaped by a process, or number of processes that may even be active today. Scientists have been debating how these honeycombed features are created, theorizing from glacial events, lake formation, volcanic activity, and tectonic activity, to wind erosion.

Written by: Matthew Bourassa, Livio Tornabene, Eric Pilles, and Radu Capitan  (27 November 2017)
 
Acquisition date
02 October 2017

Local Mars time:
15:12

Latitude (centered)
-37.394°

Longitude (East)
49.665°

Spacecraft altitude
268.8 km (168.0 miles)

Original image scale range
53.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~161 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle:
16.0°

Phase angle:
66.8°

Solar incidence angle
76°, with the Sun about 14° above the horizon

Solar longitude
68.9°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  53.7°
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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.