Nested Craters
Nested Craters
ESP_027610_2205  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
Impact craters that are only a few kilometers in size on Mars usually have simple bowl shaped interiors with craters in weaker material being larger than craters in stronger material.

Occasionally though, nature is more complicated and these simple rules don't apply. One such case is shown here where is appears as if there are craters nested within each other. These nested craters are probably caused by changes in the strength of the target material. This usually happens when a weaker material overlies a stronger material.

We can use craters like this to tell us something about what lies below the surface. What could be causing the change in strength in the subsurface? Mars has a lot of ice in its terrain near the surface. This ice-rich layer could be the weaker material and the deeper ice-free layer could be the stronger material.

Written by: Shane Byrne  (1 August 2012)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_042801_2205.
Acquisition date
16 June 2012

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
299.1 km (185.9 miles)

Original image scale range
29.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~90 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
46°, with the Sun about 44° above the horizon

Solar longitude
125.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  354.1°
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   (365MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (195MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (161MB)
non-map           (175MB)

IRB color
map projected  (47MB)
non-map           (140MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (101MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (98MB)

RGB color
non map           (139MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

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.