Along the Straight Edge
Along the Straight Edge
ESP_064445_1475  Science Theme: Impact Processes
Most craters are round, because a high-velocity impact acts like a powerful explosion that expands in all directions. This crater is an exception because the northern rim is almost perfectly straight.

One possibility is that there was a zone of joints or faults in the crust that existed before the impact. When the impact happened, the crater formed along the straight line of these faults. Something similar happened to Meteor Crater in Arizona. Our image doesn’t show any faults, but they could be beneath the surface.

Perhaps some sort of uneven collapse changed the shape of the crater. There are piles of material on the crater’s floor, especially in the northwest and northeast corners. If those piles fell down from the rim, why did it happen there and not in other places? This crater is near the size where larger craters start to show wall slumping and terraces, so this type of collapse could be occurring unevenly.

Our image reveals the crisp detail of the crater rim, with individual boulders around the outside and on the inner walls. That indicates that this crater probably isn't very old, so it hasn’t been heavily modified. So somehow this odd shape probably happened when it first formed, although we still don’t know exactly why.

Written by: Ingrid Daubar (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (27 May 2020)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_072715_1475.
Acquisition date
26 April 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
254.9 km (158.4 miles)

Original image scale range
51.0 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~153 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
190.0°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  20.2°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
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RGB color
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Black and white
map-projected   (148MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (84MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (63MB)
non-map           (91MB)

IRB color
map projected  (24MB)
non-map           (90MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (154MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (139MB)

RGB color
non map           (84MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

10K (TIFF)

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.