MSL Landing Site in Melas Chasma
MSL Landing Site in Melas Chasma
PSP_002828_1700  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This image is from a region along the walls of southwestern Melas Chasma that contains extensive valley networks and layered beds.

Some have proposed that the layered beds formed in a former lake that resulted from runoff of the valley networks to the west. The layered beds are thought to be sediments carried and subsequently deposited in a lake that may have once existed along this flat-lying basin.

The color image covers some of the layered beds as well as the wallrock to the north and south. There are color differences seen between some of the layered units, such as those visible in the subimage; a lighter-toned unit that is stratigraphically below the darker-toned unit can be seen to the right. Yellow hills are visible towards the bottom.

These color variations appear to be associated with compositional differences between the units, which are different layers within the basin. These compositional differences could reflect variations in the material that was deposited by the valley networks, or they could be the result of evaporative sequences that occurred as the lake drained or first froze then sublimated away (changed state directly from a solid to a gas).

The dark circular features likely represent eroded impact craters that have more recently been filled in by dark debris, such as basalt sand, that in some instances forms ripples.

Note: the color in these images is enhanced; it is not as it would normally appear to the human eye.

Written by: Cathy  (10 October 2007)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_019508_1700.
Acquisition date
04 March 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
256.5 km (159.4 miles)

Original image scale range
30.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~91 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon

Solar longitude
194.4°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  5.6°
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   (1725MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (931MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (881MB)
non-map           (673MB)

IRB color
map projected  (339MB)
non-map           (586MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (446MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (458MB)

RGB color
non map           (554MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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/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.