Pangboche Crater
Pangboche Crater
PSP_005388_1975  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Pangboche Crater is a very fresh, 11 kilometer (6.8 mile) diameter crater near the summit of Olympus Mons, a large shield volcano that extends 500 km (310 miles) in diameter. Geologically young craters are important to investigate the current cratering rate on Mars. There are multiple lines of evidence that indicate that Pangboche is geologically young.

Pangboche has a very distinct, sharp rim. Over time, crater rims degrade and blend into their surroundings. It has steep walls as indicated by the numerous boulders rolling down the walls. For boulders and material to dislodge from a slope because of gravity alone, slopes need to be rather steep (approximately 30 degrees).

The interior of the crater contains material that likely slumped off the walls during late stages of its formation. The north wall of the crater has material that has not slumped to the floor, instead forming a terrace.

Also noteworthy is the abundance of small craters that surround, but do not occur within, Pangboche. These are mostly secondary craters that formed when ejecta from an impact hit the surface. If the small craters were primary craters (formed from an impactor from space), then they would be expected to be within Pangboche as well. Secondaries commonly occur in clumps as seen here (see subimage, approximately 2 km across). The strong clustering indicates that these craters are secondaries.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (19 December 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_005533_1975.
Acquisition date
20 September 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
256.2 km (159.2 miles)

Original image scale range
25.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
47°, with the Sun about 43° above the horizon

Solar longitude
317.0°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  320.3°
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RGB color
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Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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IRB: infrared-red-blue
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.