New Crater Blues
New Crater Blues
ESP_053006_1980  Science Theme: Impact Processes
This new impact was found by the Context Camera team (CTX), who asked HiRISE to take a high-resolution image. They estimated the impact happened between January 2012 and September 2016, because they have a picture from the THEMIS instrument without it before that time frame. These craters may be somewhere between two and four (Earth) years old, which is exceedingly young in geologic terms. Most of the craters we see on Mars (like others in this picture) are millions of years old.

The blue appearance is due to the intense blast of the impact moving around dust on the surface. That dust is usually light-toned and reddish in color compared to what’s beneath it. When you remove the dust, you’re left with a dark spot that can sometimes be blue in comparison to the redder surroundings. These features are prominent only around young impacts, because all the old craters get covered with dust again over time.

This blueish “blast zone” is very different than the exposed ice some new craters dig up. The shape, color, and brightness are distinct and tell scientists this is not ice.

Written by: Ingrid Daubar (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (25 June 2018)
Acquisition date
16 November 2017

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
281.6 km (175.0 miles)

Original image scale range
28.4 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~85 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
43°, with the Sun about 47° above the horizon

Solar longitude
88.5°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  23.7°
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   (334MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (181MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (148MB)
non-map           (166MB)

IRB color
map projected  (43MB)
non-map           (150MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (95MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (90MB)

RGB color
non map           (140MB)
10K (TIFF)

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.