Proposed MSL Landing Site in Holden Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Proposed MSL Landing Site in Holden Crater
PSP_008193_1535  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites


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Alluvial fans are deposits of sand, gravel, and sometimes boulders that were eroded from steep slopes (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 kilometer 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 degrees and 29 degrees South, and the Holden bajada is the largest of these deposits recognized to date.

Inverted channels are found 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, so preferential erosion of the fine materials 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 would land on the bajada and drive across the traversable ripples to the south, where the inverted channels, layers, and evidence for past fluvial activity are located. Written by: Jennifer Griffes  (4 June 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008483_1535.
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Acquisition date
25 April 2008

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
260.8 km (163.0 miles)

Original image scale range
26.1 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
68°, with the Sun about 22° above the horizon

Solar longitude
63.6°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  47.0°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.