Wall of a Crater in Capri Mensa
Wall of a Crater in Capri Mensa
PSP_009881_1670  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
This image shows part of the wall of a large impact crater in Capri Mensa, a broad plateau on the floor of eastern Valles Marineris. The crater has excavated some of the sedimentary rocks and exposes layers in the walls.

Several rock units can be distinguished in the HiRISE enhanced-color data. The topmost unit is thin, smooth, and appears dark blue; it has been eroded away in places. Just below this is a blocky or rubbly layer, that appears brown and is occasionally interbedded with light-toned blocky rocks. The lower parts of the slope are mostly light-toned rock with a faceted or scalloped appearance.

In other outcrops observed by HiRISE, these characteristics are associated with dusty material, probably deposited by the wind. The lower slopes have been partially blanketed and armored by material falling from above, so only patches of the light rocks are exposed.

The crater floor also contains intriguing rocks, including what appears to be megabreccia--large, broken clasts (pieces of rock) surrounded by a matrix of finer material. Megabreccia forms in energetic events, like impacts or large landslides, and could have been excavated by the present crater. This indicates another part of the complex story told by the rocks here.

Written by: Colin Dundas  (29 October 2008)
Acquisition date
04 September 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
261.3 km (162.4 miles)

Original image scale range
26.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~79 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon

Solar longitude
122.3°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  37.8°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.