Fading Dark Spot at the InSight Landing Site
Fading Dark Spot at the InSight Landing Site
ESP_065218_1845  Science Theme: Aeolian Processes
It’s been 21 months since the InSight lander touched down on Mars and HiRISE images show the changes that have taken place over time at the landing site.

The image on the right shows the prominent dark spot produced by the retrorockets that were used during the descent to the surface. The retrorockets removed the fine, reddish dust that coats much of the Martian surface, leaving behind a cleaner, darker surface of sands and rocks that produced the dark spot seen from orbit.

Over time, dust has settled out of the atmosphere to cover up those clean surfaces around the Insight lander and now the dark spot is barely visible as seen in the HiRISE image taken in June 2020 (left). The InSight spacecraft appears blue in both images.

Written by: Cathy Weitz  (29 June 2020)

Acquisition date
25 June 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
271.7 km (168.8 miles)

Original image scale range
31.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~94 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon

Solar longitude
226.4°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  96°
Sub-solar azimuth:  339.3°
Black and white
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IRB color
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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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IRB color
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Black and white
map-projected  (312MB)
non-map           (339MB)

IRB color
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non-map           (292MB)

Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
map-projected  (238MB)

RGB color
non map           (277MB)
B&W label
Color label
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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.