A South Polar Pit or an Impact Crater?
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A South Polar Pit or an Impact Crater?
ESP_049972_0930  Science Theme: Polar Geology


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It is late summer in the Southern hemisphere, so the Sun is low in the sky and subtle topography is accentuated in orbital images.

We see many shallow pits in the bright residual cap of carbon dioxide ice (also called “Swiss cheese terrain”). There is also a deeper, circular formation that penetrates through the ice and dust. This might be an impact crater or it could be a collapse pit.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (30 May 2017)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_049945_0930.
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Acquisition date
25 March 2017

Local Mars time:
18:22

Latitude (centered)
-87.172°

Longitude (East)
263.926°

Range to target site
248.2 km (155.1 miles)

Original image scale range
49.7 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~149 cm across are resolved

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50 cm/pixel

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Polarstereographic

Emission angle:
0.7°

Phase angle:
81.8°

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

Solar longitude
338.7°, Northern Winter

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North azimuth:  154°
Sub-solar azimuth:  58.6°
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POSTSCRIPT
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.