Bedrock in an Unnamed Crater Near Hellas Planitia
Bedrock in an Unnamed Crater Near Hellas Planitia
PSP_005817_1515  Science Theme: Rocks and Regolith
This subimage shows part of the floor of an unnamed crater in the Southern Highlands, near Hellas Planitia. It depicts light-colored bedrock and darker wind deposits. This is a false-color image, enhanced to exaggerate the contrast between units.

The bedrock appears tan-colored and shows subtle signs of layering in places; see, for instance, the butte in the southwestern portion of the color subimage. Layering in terrestrial formations usually indicates that the rock-forming materials were deposited by wind or water.

The bedrock is crisscrossed by a dense network of rectilinear (lines that are parallel or at right angles) fractures; some can be followed for hundreds of meters. The fractures look bluish in color, indicating that they are occupied by materials that are somehow different from the bedrock. Perhaps wind-carried materials got trapped in the depressed fracture zones.

The two large, feather-shaped deposits towards the southeastern corner of the subimage are younger dune deposits. Dunes form when loose sand-sized materials are transported and deposited by a moving fluid, in this case wind. Their color—similar to that of the materials in the fractures—indicates that they did not originate from erosion of the local bedrock.

Written by: Sara Martinez-Alonso  (3 March 2008)
Acquisition date
23 October 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.1 km (157.9 miles)

Original image scale range
25.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~76 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
37°, with the Sun about 53° above the horizon

Solar longitude
335.6°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  28.2°
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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’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.