This is Not the Hydrothermal Deposit You’re Looking For
This is Not the Hydrothermal Deposit You’re Looking For
ESP_055282_2125  Science Theme: Hydrothermal Processes
A hotspot for exploration on Mars centers on areas that were once, or are currently, next to a significant source of heat such as volcanoes. Martian volcanoes have not been active for the last couple million years, but beneath the shifting sands and dust of the Red Planet we find old lava flows frozen in time.

These ancient lava flows may have provided a source of heat, along with liquid water or subsurface ice, to generate an environment conducive for the development of ancient life. Geological evidence for hot water interacting with rock is what we mean by hydrothermal: sites with these conditions are very difficult to identify from orbit.

One closeup view shows sand dunes scouring what appears to be a highly-cratered, old lava flow in the Tempe Terra region, located in the Northern Hemisphere. The flat, dark areas are basaltic in composition, a rock commonly found around active volcanoes, and the lighter-toned material is covered in rusted Martian dust. The recently-launched InSight lander will reveal whether Mars is geologically active internally.

Written by: Sarah Simpson, Alyssa Werynski, Jennifer Newman, Eric Pilles, Livio Tornabene (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (23 July 2018)
Acquisition date
13 May 2018

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
288.9 km (179.5 miles)

Original image scale range
57.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~173 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
174.7°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  344.7°
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IRB color
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Black and white
map-projected  (161MB)
non-map           (177MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (160MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (316MB)

RGB color
non map           (152MB)
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HiClip mini HD

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RGB: red-green-blue
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.