Staring into a Pit
Staring into a Pit
ESP_063262_1755  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This observation was meant to examine a pit identified in a Context Camera image to see if HiRISE could resolve any details inside. In this cutout, we see the “normal” view of the HiRISE image on the left, while the right shows what happens when we try to “enhance” the brightness of the pixels in the pit.

Fortunately, HiRISE is sensitive enough to actually see things in this otherwise dark pit. Since HiRISE turned by almost 30 degrees to capture this image, we can see the rough eastern wall of the pit. The floor of the pit appears to be smooth sand and slopes down to the southeast. The hope was to determine if this was an isolated pit, or if it was a skylight into a tunnel, much like skylights in the lava tubes of Hawai’i. We can’t obviously see any tunnels in the visible walls, but they could be in the other walls that aren’t visible.

Written by: Ross A. Beyer  (21 February 2020)
Acquisition date
24 January 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
257.5 km (160.1 miles)

Original image scale range
29.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~90 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
54°, with the Sun about 36° above the horizon

Solar longitude
140.5°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  32.5°
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   (336MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (222MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (167MB)
non-map           (134MB)

IRB color
map projected  (52MB)
non-map           (129MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (101MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (97MB)

RGB color
non map           (128MB)
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.