Proposed MSL Site: Holden Crater
Proposed MSL Site: Holden Crater
PSP_007191_1535  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
Alluvial fans are deposits of sand, gravel, and sometimes boulders that were eroded from steep slopes (like mountain fronts or basin walls) and deposited on plains at the base of the slope. Erosion of deep alcoves into the walls of Holden Crater (155 kilometers/100 miles in diameter) provided sediment to these alluvial fans, which have coalesced into a large deposit called a bajada.

Most Martian impact craters that contain large alluvial fans are clustered between 18 and 29 degrees South, and the Holden bajada is the largest of these deposits recognized to date. Inverted channels are located on the alluvial fans, where the old stream beds were more resistant to later wind erosion than the fine-grained sediment deposited outside the channels. Preferential erosion left the channel beds exposed as ridges. Many ripples of more recent, wind-blown sand are found between the older inverted channels.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) would land on the bajada and drive across the traversable ripples to the south, where the inverted channels, layers, and evidence for past fluvial (water) activity are located.

Written by: Jennifer Griffes  (23 April 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_007903_1535.
Acquisition date
07 February 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
259.9 km (161.5 miles)

Original image scale range
26.0 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
56°, with the Sun about 34° above the horizon

Solar longitude
28.8°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  42.8°
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Full resolution JP2 download
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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.