A Crater Enlarged by the Sublimation of Ice
A Crater Enlarged by the Sublimation of Ice
ESP_062951_2255  Science Theme: 
This image covers part of the ejecta from an impact crater (about 6-kilometers in diameter) to the west in Utopia Planitia. The ejecta lobes have morphologies suggesting icy flow.

Several small (about 100 to 200 meters in diameter) craters on top of those lobes have a distinctive formation. One interpretation is that the impact crater exposed nearly pure water ice, which then sublimated away where exposed by the slopes of the crater, expanding the crater’s diameter and producing a scalloped appearance. The small polygons are another indicator of shallow ice.

Written by: Alfred McEwen (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (18 March 2020)
Acquisition date
31 December 2019

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
301.6 km (187.4 miles)

Original image scale range
61.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~183 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
49°, with the Sun about 41° above the horizon

Solar longitude
128.7°, Northern Summer

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North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  350.6°
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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.