Pluvo Point
Pluvo Point
ESP_026956_2545  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image near Mars' North Pole was a public image suggestion, with the following rationale: "My three year old son has dubbed this white smudge 'Pluvo Point', he thinks 'we should take a picture of it to learn about how snow and ice comes down on Mars.' "

Although we can clearly see the bright area in this image, it isn't due to frost or ice at this time of year (early summer), and doesn't have the relatively blue color expected for frost. So, what does create the "white smudge"?

The image shows a typical region of northern plains covered by polygons and boulders. There are dark areas in low spots that are probably due to windblown dark sand. Where the sand is most abundant, it forms the dunes seen near the top and bottom of this image. The "white smudge" appears to be a region with relatively little dark sand. It isn't actually white, but it is brighter than other nearby regions. These could be low hills where the sand doesn't collect.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (6 June 2012)
Acquisition date
26 April 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
317.3 km (197.2 miles)

Original image scale range
63.6 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~191 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
102.4°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  102°
Sub-solar azimuth:  326.0°
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   (591MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (334MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (363MB)
non-map           (263MB)

IRB color
map projected  (150MB)
non-map           (239MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (584MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (548MB)

RGB color
non map           (228MB)
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’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.