Utopia Planitia Landforms
Utopia Planitia Landforms
PSP_008452_2175  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
This image shows features from Utopia Planitia, part of the broad northern plains of Mars. Much research has focused on possible ice-related geomorphology in this area, which contains many peculiar landforms.

In this image, the prominent features are fractured mounds or hills. Many of these seem partially to fill small impact craters, but some are found on level ground. These could be landforms produced by ground ice upheaval, or perhaps eroded remnants of some kind of mantling layer. Recent research indicates that some of these landforms occur only at certain latitudes and thus certain climate conditions, suggesting a possible role for ice in their formation.

The level surface also has an intriguing pitted appearance, with some variations across the image. This might also have been produced by the sublimation (going from a solid directly to a gas) of ice in the upper soil. The surface, including the mounds, has ubiquitous small boulders, only a few HiRISE pixels across. The presence of boulders indicates that this surface material does not consist only of very fine sediments, as might have been expected in a deep ocean basin. Whatever process deposited the upper sediments on these northern plains must have carried boulders up to about one meter diameter.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (9 July 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008663_2175.
Acquisition date
16 May 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
297.2 km (184.7 miles)

Original image scale range
30.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~90 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
41°, with the Sun about 49° above the horizon

Solar longitude
72.4°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  0.2°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (1209MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (510MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (572MB)
non-map           (587MB)

IRB color
map projected  (191MB)
non-map           (400MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (341MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (329MB)

RGB color
non map           (374MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
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.