Martian Honeycomb Hideout
Martian Honeycomb Hideout
ESP_024061_2610  Science Theme: Seasonal Processes
The most striking aspect of this image is the honeycomb-like pattern of the dunes.

This is a seasonal monitoring site, meaning HiRISE takes pictures across the seasons to view what changes occur and what causes them. The surface here is covered with seasonal carbon dioxide frost. In this case, we can compare locations of cracks in the frost to previous images.

In this cutout, we see a dark spot on the slope of a dune. This is most likely caused by sublimation, where a solid passes directly into a gaseous state. The frost is translucent (some light passes through), so it sublimates at the base and pressure builds up. When the gas escapes, it can expose the dark ground or throw sand on top of the frost, producing dark spots like these.

This caption is based on the original science rationale.

Written by: HiRISE Science Team (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (20 March 2013)
Acquisition date
14 September 2011

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
320.9 km (199.4 miles)

Original image scale range
64.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~193 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
81°, with the Sun about 9° above the horizon

Solar longitude
0.4°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  108°
Sub-solar azimuth:  304.6°
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Black and white
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non-map           (254MB)

IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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RGB color
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B&W label
Color label
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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’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.