Another Well-Preserved Impact Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Another Well-Preserved Impact Crater
ESP_025450_1595  Science Theme: Impact Processes
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Shown here is a stereo pair (see the anaglyph) of a well-preserved impact crater about 6 or 7 kilometers wide from rim to rim. By well-preserved we mean that the crater has a sharp rim, deep cavity, impact morphologies preserved down to scales of tens of meters, and little sign of infilling or degradation by a range of processes (other impacts, volcanism, tectonism, icy flow, aeolian erosion and infill, etc.).

When seen at full HiRISE resolution, almost all craters on Mars do show some modification such as subsequent smaller impacts, wind-blown deposition and/or erosion, and downslope movement of material on steep slopes.

We have imaged hundreds of well-preserved impact craters on Mars ranging from 1 meter to more than 100 kilometers wide. These targets are of great interest for multiple reasons: first, we want to better understand impact cratering, a fundamental surface process. Second, such craters often contain good exposures of bedrock in the steep walls and, if the crater is large enough, in the central uplift. Just like terrestrial geologists are attracted to good bedrock outcrops like road cuts, planetary geologists are attracted to well-preserved craters.

Third, the steep slopes often reveal active processes, such as formation of gullies, boulder falls, and slope streaks that could form in a variety of ways. Some of these active processes could be related to water, since the crater may expose lenses of ice or salty water, or create deep shadows that trap volatiles, or expose salts that can extract water from the air.

Written by: Alfred McEwen   (1 February 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_024738_1595.

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Acquisition date:31 December 2011 Local Mars time:14:52
Latitude (centered):-20.428° Longitude (East):59.146°
Range to target site:266.7 km (166.7 miles)Original image scale range:26.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~80 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:15.9° Phase angle:69.5°
Solar incidence angle:58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon Solar longitude:50.7°, Northern Spring

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. 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. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.