We’re in the midst of another HiRISE team meeting here in Tucson. I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since the team meeting I blogged about here. There are a few new faces, but mostly familiar friends that we’ve worked with for years by now. Our two newest Targeting Specialists are meeting the science team for the first time. (They’re actually not that “new” any more – they started last June, but this is their first team meeting.) Some of the other new folks are students and post-docs who are working on interesting research projects using HiRISE data. There are also a few people from JPL here at the meeting, who we talk to on the phone and email often, but we’ve never actually met face-to-face before.
Today during the meeting we are getting updates on all the Science Themes. Our images are divided into groups according to the geologic process that we hypothesize occurred. For each of these themes, a Science Theme Lead is assigned. These “STLs” are Co-Investigators or postdocs who are experts in that area. For example, the Volcanic Processes theme contains images intended to explore phenomena related to volcanism, such as inflated lavas, water-lava interactions, volcanic pits and cones, and mysterious types of collapse features such as the one shown in the anaglyph to the left. As you can read in the caption for that image, we’re still not sure how this feature formed. There are several different possibilities. The image was originally placed in the Impact Processes theme because that was one hypothesis. However, after seeing the high resolution image and stereo data from HiRISE, formation by a meteor impact doesn’t seem as plausible. Collapse after loss of material beneath the surface, such as magma or water, is a better fit to our observations.