Low Albedo Feature in Aeolis and Zephyria Regions
Low Albedo Feature in Aeolis and Zephyria Regions
ESP_017693_1795  Science Theme: Hydrothermal Processes
This image is taken of an interesting linear feature in the Aeolis and Zephyria regions. Using the daytime infrared imaging data from the THEMIS instrument, this feature has a higher daytime temperature than its surroundings while also being relatively dark.

When viewed at full HiRISE resolution, this area contains sand ripples with some consolidated, bedrock-like material poking through. These bedrock outcrops are more pronounced along the southern portion of the image and are most apparent in the region of the thermal anomaly. The outcrops trend generally east-west and appear sculpted by wind (aeolian) erosion.

In the area of the anomaly, the sand between these outcrops has a darker tone and gradually blends with the lighter material to either side. This darker sand may be the reason why the material has a “hot” signature compared to its surroundings, because dark materials absorb sunlight more efficiently.

Features similar to the one in this image help researchers to characterize such features and to understand whether such exposures may indicate possible hydrothermal fissures, or perhaps be just an exposure of a darker underlying material.

Written by: Shawn Hart and Ginny Gulick  (2 June 2010)
Acquisition date
06 May 2010

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
270.4 km (168.1 miles)

Original image scale range
27.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
54°, with the Sun about 36° above the horizon

Solar longitude
86.9°, Northern Spring

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  38.8°
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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.