A Recent Impact Site in Noachis Terra
A Recent Impact Site in Noachis Terra
ESP_057984_1490  Science Theme: Impact Processes
This image shows a recent impact in Noachis Terra in the southern mid-latitudes of Mars. The impact occurred in dark-toned ejecta material from a degraded, 60-kilometer crater to the south.

Rather than a single impact crater, we see multiple impacts like a shotgun blast. This suggests that the impactor broke up in the atmosphere on entry. Although the atmosphere of Mars is thinner than Earth’s, it still has the capacity to break up small impactors, especially ones comprised of weaker materials, like a stony meteoroid versus a iron-nickel one.

Our image depicts 21 distinctive craters ranging in size from 1 to 7 meters in diameter. They are distributed over an area that spans about 305 meters. Most observed recent impacts expose darker-toned materials underlying bright dusty surfaces. However, this impact does the opposite, showing us lighter-toned materials that lie beneath a darker colored surface.

The impact was initially discovered in a 2016 Context Camera image, and was not seen in a 2009 picture. This implies that the impact may be only two years old, but certainly no more than nine years.

Written by: Matthew Bourassa, Shannon Hibbard, Eric Pilles and Livio Tornabene (audio: Tre Gibbs)  (18 February 2019)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_049175_1490.
Acquisition date
09 December 2018

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
253.5 km (157.6 miles)

Original image scale range
25.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~77 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
31°, with the Sun about 59° above the horizon

Solar longitude
303.3°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  15.9°
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non-map           (239MB)

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non-map           (218MB)

Merged IRB
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RGB color
non map           (208MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
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10K (TIFF)

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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.