A Recipe for Martian Scallops
A Recipe for Martian Scallops
ESP_065907_1220  Science Theme: Glacial/Periglacial Processes
About a third of Mars has water ice just below the dusty surface. Figuring out exactly where is vital for future human explorers. One of the ways scientists do this is to look for landforms that only occur when this buried ice is present. These scallops are one of those diagnostic landforms.

A layer of clean ice lies just below the surface in this image. As the ice ablates away in some spots the surface dust collapses into the hole that’s left. These holes grow into the scallops visible here as more and more ice is lost.

Between the scallops, the ice is still there, ready for some astronaut to come along and dig it up.

Written by: Shane Byrne (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (16 March 2021)
Acquisition date
17 August 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
248.2 km (154.3 miles)

Original image scale range
24.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~75 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
50°, with the Sun about 40° above the horizon

Solar longitude
260.3°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  98°
Sub-solar azimuth:  24.4°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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.