Ancient Layered Rocks in Nili Fossae
Ancient Layered Rocks in Nili Fossae
PSP_009929_2020  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This image covers a flat plain in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. The portion shown here is roughly 400 meters, or 1/4 mile, across.

Bright, fractured bedrock is visible underlying dunes or ripples of wind-blown sand. The parallel, dark blue curves across the bedrock surface (underneath the dunes) are the edges of successive rock layers. These may appear dark blue because dark sand has become trapped at the edges of the layers. Successive layers in the bedrock are also exposed in the walls of degraded impact craters elsewhere in the image.

The layered rocks here are billions of years old, and infrared spectra from the CRISM instrument have inferred that they contain minerals such as clays and carbonate that likely formed when liquid water chemically altered these rocks. This evidence for past water activity, combined with the general flatness of this particular location, make it a good candidate landing site for future Mars rover missions.

Written by: James Wray  (5 November 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_010219_2020.
Acquisition date
08 September 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
280.7 km (174.5 miles)

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

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
124.1°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  14.2°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
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Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
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RGB color
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Black and white
map-projected   (1011MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (475MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (451MB)
non-map           (525MB)

IRB color
map projected  (167MB)
non-map           (401MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (288MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (278MB)

RGB color
non map           (412MB)
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.