Student Image of the Week: Light-Toned Cap Materials in Aram Chaos
Student Image of the Week: Light-Toned Cap Materials in Aram Chaos
PSP_003617_1835  Science Theme: Fluvial Processes


Max Fomitchev at Pennsylvania State University suggested this target. He writes, "(This image) captures an enigmatic approximately 6 kilometer-wide area in central Aram Chaos, a crater that is about 1000 kilometers in diameter located east of Valles Marineris and just north of the equator.

"The image depicts the edge of a light-toned cap unit forming two large sheets in the middle of this chaotic terrain. This cap unit (which occupies the northern half of the image; see subimage 1; 2024 x 1611; 9MB) is heavily eroded forming the 'icing' texture and terminates with a sharp approximately 300 meter cliff going diagonally across the image. Bright outcrops (yellow in the color subimage 2; 2024 x 3291; 19MB) on the cliff wall [may be the material identified by OMEGA as sulfates] while the exceptionally smooth dark-colored material at the bottom of the cliff is (probably dust or debris). This material is likely to have been deposited via erosion of the cap unit and (may have been) related to fluvial processes.

"In the past, the entire Aram Chaos Crater (may have) once been an ice-covered lake connected to a nearby valley via an outflow channel and underwent several episodes of catastrophic flooding. Thus, the multiple cracked overlapping layers of the chaotic terrain (may have) formed in presence of transient water and ice. Nowadays, Aram Chaos (may contain) water-rich minerals (including hematite deposits identified by TES) and thus (may) provide an ideal site for exploration of water-related processes on present day Mars."

Written by: Alix Davatzes and Max Formichev  (3 October 2007)
Acquisition date
05 May 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
272.9 km (169.6 miles)

Original image scale range
27.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
55°, with the Sun about 35° above the horizon

Solar longitude
231.9°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  339.0°
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   (826MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (418MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (405MB)
non-map           (432MB)

IRB color
map projected  (146MB)
non-map           (335MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (201MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (193MB)

RGB color
non map           (324MB)
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.