Fading Young Impact Crater
Fading Young Impact Crater
ESP_016807_2060  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
This image shows a new impact crater that formed on Mars between May 2002 and February 2004. It was discovered in data from the Mars Odyssey Mission THEMIS instrument and later confirmed to be an impact crater by the Context Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE is monitoring this site, at latitude 25.5 degrees and East longitude 221.8 degrees, to watch for changes brought about by the Martian winds.

Comparison of this image with an earlier HiRISE image (PSP_004175_2060) taken more than a Martian year earlier shows significant changes. The dark ejecta from the impact has faded considerably in the interval between June 2007 and February 2010. The fading is probably more significant than represented by these images, since the phase angle (the angle between the Sun, the surface, and the spacecraft) was much larger in the earlier image (72.2 degrees) than in the more recent picture (33.2 degrees). Images taken at higher phase angle tend to emphasize topography and make color and brightness differences less prominent.

The timing of the fading in not known, but the changes could have coincided with a global dust storm that took place in July 2007, shortly after the earlier image was acquired.

Written by: Paul Geissler  (7 April 2010)
Acquisition date
26 February 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
286.0 km (177.8 miles)

Original image scale range
28.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~87 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon

Solar longitude
56.7°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  8.2°
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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.