Ancient Lava Flow
Ancient Lava Flow
ESP_020827_1595  Science Theme: Composition and Photometry
Ever wonder what a lava flow might look like after about 3 billion years of sitting on the windswept surface of Mars?

It makes a rocky, rough, cratered surface, with sand dunes and other windblown deposits. According to the OMEGA spectrometer on Mars Express, these flows are rich in the mineral olivine. Since olivine is easily altered by water, this site has been extremely dry for billions of years.

This is a great example of someplace we'll probably never send a lander or rover. It would be difficult to land here successfully, and isn't a good candidate for studying habitable environments.

On the other hand, getting a radiometric date for these rocks would be quite useful, to better understand the volcanic history of Mars and to calibrate attempts to date the surface from the density of impact craters.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (16 February 2011)
Acquisition date
05 January 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.7 km (157.6 miles)

Original image scale range
50.8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~152 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon

Solar longitude
211.5°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  5.0°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (80MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (43MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (32MB)
non-map           (51MB)

IRB color
map projected  (8MB)
non-map           (45MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (86MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (80MB)

RGB color
non map           (42MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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.