Small Crater on the North Polar Deposits
Small Crater on the North Polar Deposits
PSP_010180_2645  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows a small impact crater on the bright north polar perennial ice cap. Mars has ice caps at both its north and south poles. The perennial, or permanent, portion of the north polar cap consists almost entirely of water ice.

The impact crater is about 66 meters (215 feet) in diameter. Ejecta from this crater can be seen extending primarily to the northwest. The asymmetry in the crater ejecta can be an effect of atmospheric winds associated with the impact itself but, in this case, is most likely the result of an oblique impact (a low impact angle with respect to the horizontal). As impact angles decrease, the ejecta blanket is increasingly offset downrange.

The impactor that formed this crater approached the surface from the southeast. The slightly elliptical shape of the crater is also a result of an oblique impact.

Written by: Maria Banks  (5 November 2008)
Acquisition date
27 September 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
316.3 km (196.6 miles)

Original image scale range
from 31.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 63.3 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning)

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
67°, with the Sun about 23° above the horizon

Solar longitude
133.5°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  120°
Sub-solar azimuth:  323.9°
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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.