Unnamed, Well-Preserved Crater South of Hypanis Valles
Unnamed, Well-Preserved Crater South of Hypanis Valles
PSP_009393_1890  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Because HiRISE images resolve details at scales less than a meter, this image and others similar to it of uneroded impact craters, offer opportunities to examine the details of the impact cratering process.

This is a very well-preserved crater in the northern hemisphere. Because the features on the crater rim, walls, and floor are very sharp, rather than rounded, it appears to have undergone very little erosion or other modification since its formation.

Several interesting characteristics are notable in this observation. The north part of the image shows striations on the ejecta that formed from the impact blast. The crater rim has a large number of bright landslides, probably resulting from slumping on steep, unstable slopes that are typical of well-preserved craters.

Some of the terraces within the crater have fluvial-like channels which might have been carved shortly after crater formation from impact-induced precipitation. Other processes involving flow of a media behaving like a fluid and capable of small channel erosion (for example, impact melt or cascades of sandy debris) may have also contributed to the formation.

Finally, this crater has a central pit. Central pits may form from release of volatiles, ices in the surface that becomes gases during the later stages of the impact process.

Written by: Kelly Kolb  (1 October 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_010105_1890.
Acquisition date
28 July 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
276.2 km (171.6 miles)

Original image scale range
27.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~83 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
51°, with the Sun about 39° above the horizon

Solar longitude
104.8°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  29.3°
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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.