Twin Craters in Meridiani Planum
Twin Craters in Meridiani Planum
ESP_050849_1700  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
This image shows two small impact craters located in Meridiani Planum. This is an example of the geologic principle of superposition: figuring out what happened first by looking at how features interact with each other. We can see that one of the craters must have hit the surface after the other was already there, but which came first?

We can see that the ejecta blankets look rougher on the right side of the image than they do on the left. This could mean that the right side ejecta is newer, and hasn’t been exposed to the wind as much as the left side has.

Zooming in, we see small boulders on the floor and walls of the left-side crater, and they even seem to match the rough material in the ejecta on the right. With these clues, we can hypothesize that the crater on the left was here first. After some time another asteroid hit, formed the crater on the right, which threw material onto the floor of the left, where it remains to this day.

Written by: Nicole Bardabelias (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (14 May 2018)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_050704_1700.
Acquisition date
01 June 2017

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
264.4 km (164.3 miles)

Original image scale range
27.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
13.3°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  29.4°
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Full resolution JP2 download
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RGB: red-green-blue
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.