Mineralogical Diversity in Nili Fossae
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Mineralogical Diversity in Nili Fossae
PSP_009138_2025  Science Theme: Rocks and Regolith
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There is evidence of phyllosilicate material (clays) throughout this region, named Nili Fossae. The evidence comes from the OMEGA experiment on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft and CRISM on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, infrared spectrometers that can identify minerals on the surface of Mars.

In the Nili Fossae region, the spectrometers have found remarkable diversity in surface composition. Because of the evidence for clays and other interesting geology, Nili Fossae is also being considered as a landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory rover.

HiRISE has targeted several places where OMEGA and CRISM show extreme diversity, with this being one example. In this specific area, low-calcium pyroxene (LCP) materials are adjacent to these clays. The cracked terrain regions evident at the highest resolution provide clues to the sequence of events which occurred in Nili Fossae.

Written by: Nicolas Thomas   (29 August 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008426_2025.

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Acquisition date:08 July 2008 Local Mars time:15:25
Latitude (centered):22.369° Longitude (East):74.898°
Range to target site:296.0 km (185.0 miles)Original image scale range:29.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~89 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:19.0° Phase angle:29.5°
Solar incidence angle:47°, with the Sun about 43° above the horizon Solar longitude:95.9°, Northern Summer

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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.