Aurorae Chaos
Aurorae Chaos
PSP_005424_1700  Science Theme: Other
This observation shows a portion of Aurorae Chaos, chaotic terrain east of the Vallis Marineris canyon system. Aurorae Chaos extends from Capri and Eos Chasmata on the west into Hydraotes and Aureum Chaos on the north and east.

Chaotic terrain is thought to form from subsurface collapse following volatile release. It is possible that the Martian crust was at one time enriched in ices that became gases or liquid at relatively low temperatures upon encountering a heat source or was violently shaken. These ices existed in spaces between soil particles. If a large volume of volatiles is suddenly released, then there is a large portion of the soil volume missing. The soil cannot support itself, so it collapses.

Since chaotic terrain is often located at the head of the Martian outflow channels (giant flood plains), it is also possible that the chaotic regions are the source of the fluids that formed the outflow channels. Aurorae Chaos connects to outflow channels via other chaotic regions.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (30 January 2008)
Acquisition date
23 September 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
265.4 km (164.9 miles)

Original image scale range
26.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~80 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
318.6°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  351.8°
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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.