Figure 8 Craters on Mars
Figure 8 Craters on Mars
ESP_054940_2385  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Impact craters are very common on the surface of Mars as well as any other planetary body lacking a significant atmosphere (e.g., the Moon). In the absence of a thick atmosphere and active geologic processes, and if the surface is very old and has not been altered by something like lava flows, it will retain evidence of so many impacts that older and newer craters appear like circles on top of each other.

When we see a combination of two crater shapes on the ground, the one showing a nearly “full circle” will be the younger crater. In this image, we see the combined shape of two impact craters. However, neither crater displays a continuous circular shape (or rim) in the area connecting them. These two “figure 8” shapes indicate a binary impact where the impactor split apart shortly before hitting the ground, creating both craters at the same time.

Written by: M. Ramy El-Maarry (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (9 July 2018)
Acquisition date
16 April 2018

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
306.8 km (190.7 miles)

Original image scale range
61.4 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~184 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
62°, with the Sun about 28° above the horizon

Solar longitude
160.3°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  332.5°
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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.