An Inverted Crater West of Mawrth Vallis
An Inverted Crater West of Mawrth Vallis
PSP_009115_2040  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This image captures details of an approximately 1-kilometer inverted crater west of Mawrth Vallis. A Context Camera image provides context for the erosional features observed at this site. The location of this HiRISE image is north of the proposed landing ellipse for the ExoMars rover mission that could investigate diverse rocks and minerals related to ancient water-related activity in this region.

Prolonged erosion removed less resistant rocks leaving behind other rocks that stand up locally such as the crater seen here and other nearby remnants. These resistant layers may belong to a phase of volcanism and/or water-related activity that carved Mawrth Vallis and filled in existing craters, and other lower-lying depressions, with darker materials.

Erosion has also exposed these layers down to older, more resistant lighter rocks that are clay-bearing. The diversity of exposed bedrock made this location an ideal candidate for exploring a potentially water-rich ancient environment that might have once harbored life.

Written by: Radu Capitan, Livio Tornabene, Eric Pilles and Matt Bourassa  (27 November 2017)
Acquisition date
06 July 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
286.5 km (178.1 miles)

Original image scale range
28.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~86 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel and North is up

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

Solar longitude
95.1°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  17.6°
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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.