Bright Material on Crater Floor
Bright Material on Crater Floor
PSP_006673_1600  Science Theme: Sedimentary/Layering Processes
This image shows part of a crater wall and floor, where the floor is covered by dunes and distinct regions of bright material. The bright material stands higher than the rest of the floor suggesting that it is more resistant to erosion than surrounding materials.

It is possible that more and more bright material will be exposed over time; why the material is bright is unknown. The material might be evaporites, that form when salt water dries up and leaves behind salt deposits (the evaporites).

Also in this scene is a crater with a ridge running up to its west (left) side. The ridge is lighter and might be evidence that water flowed through it, bleaching the rocks as it went. The water might have cemented the soil, causing it to be more resistant to erosion and high standing as seen today.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (12 March 2008)
Acquisition date
29 December 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
257.7 km (160.2 miles)

Original image scale range
25.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~77 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
45°, with the Sun about 45° above the horizon

Solar longitude
9.7°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  33.8°
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non-map           (290MB)

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B&W label
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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.