The Slow Charm of Brain Terrain
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
The Slow Charm of Brain Terrain
ESP_058008_2225  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
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You are staring at one of the unsolved mysteries on Mars. This surface texture of interconnected ridges and troughs, referred to as “brain terrain” is found throughout the mid-latitude regions of Mars. (This image is in Protonilus Mensae.)

This bizarrely textured terrain may be directly related to the water-ice that lies beneath the surface. One hypothesis is that when the buried water-ice sublimates (changes from a solid to a gas), it forms the troughs in the ice. The formation of these features might be an active process that is slowly occurring since HiRISE has yet to detect significant changes in these terrains.

Written by: Shannon Hibbard, Matt Bourassa, Eric Pilles and Livio Tornabene  (4 March 2019)
 
Acquisition date
11 December 2018

Local Mars time
13:55

Latitude (centered)
42.022°

Longitude (East)
49.389°

Spacecraft altitude
295.7 km (183.8 miles)

Original image scale range
from 29.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 59.3 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning)

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection
Equirectangular

Emission angle
3.2°

Phase angle
70.3°

Solar incidence angle
68°, with the Sun about 22° above the horizon

Solar longitude
304.4°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  306.2°
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map projected

Merged RGB
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RGB color
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map-projected   (594MB)

IRB color
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JP2 EXTRAS
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map-projected  (285MB)
non-map           (207MB)

IRB color
map projected  (134MB)
non-map           (280MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (170MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (163MB)

RGB color
non map           (274MB)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products
HiView

NB
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

USAGE POLICY
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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.