A Dragonfly-Shaped Crater
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A Dragonfly-Shaped Crater
ESP_048462_1585  Science Theme: Impact Processes


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The broader scene for this image is the fluidized ejecta from Bakhuysen Crater to the southwest, but there’s something very interesting going on here on a much smaller scale.

A small impact crater, about 25 meters in diameter, with a gouged-out trench extends to the south. The ejecta (rocky material ejected from the crater) mostly extends to the east and west of the crater. This “butterfly” ejecta is very common for craters formed at low impact angles. Taken together, these observations suggest that the crater-forming impactor came in at a low angle from the north, hit the ground and ejected material to the sides.

The top of the impactor may have sheared off (“decapitating” the impactor) and continued downrange, forming the trench. We can’t prove that’s what happened, but this explanation is consistent with the observations. Regardless of how it formed, it’s quite an interesting-looking “dragonfly” crater!

Written by: Kirby Runyon (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (10 February 2017)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_048528_1585.

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Acquisition date
27 November 2016

Local Mars time:

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Range to target site
278.5 km (174.1 miles)

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55.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~167 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel and North is up

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35°, with the Sun about 55° above the horizon

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269.6°, Northern Autumn

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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.