Hexagons in Icy Terrain
Hexagons in Icy Terrain
PSP_008883_2245  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
Ground cemented by ice cover the high latitudes of Mars, much as they do on Earth’s cold climates. A common landform that occurs in icy terrain are polygons.

Polygonal patterns form by winter cooling and contraction cracking of the frozen ground. Over time these thin cracks develop and coalesce into a honeycomb network, with a few meters spacing between neighboring cracks. Shallow troughs mark the locations of the underground cracks, which are clearly visible from orbit.

Written by: Mike Mellon (audio by Tre Gibbs)  (22 January 2018)
Acquisition date
18 June 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
302.1 km (187.7 miles)

Original image scale range
30.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~91 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
87.1°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  355.0°
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   (922MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (376MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (404MB)
non-map           (428MB)

IRB color
map projected  (137MB)
non-map           (314MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (257MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (251MB)

RGB color
non map           (304MB)
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/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.