An Icy Scarp in the Southern Mid-latitudes
An Icy Scarp in the Southern Mid-latitudes
ESP_066606_1245  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
This enhanced color cutout shows a pit about 600 meters across that is bounded by a steep scarp on its northern side. Similar scarps in the southern mid-latitudes are known to expose water ice that extends to within a couple meters of the surface.

The ice appears to be slowly sublimating into the atmosphere, causing the scarps to retreat towards the equator (up in the cutout) and enlarge the pits. This is the first HiRISE image of this particular scarp, acquired as part of an ongoing campaign to monitor the evolution of these formations that may provide an easily accessible source of water for future human explorers.

The darker, bluer streaks extending away from the top of the scarp may have been caused by winds blowing sand out of the pit and/or removing brighter dust from the surface.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (13 April 2021)
Acquisition date
11 October 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
251.7 km (156.5 miles)

Original image scale range
25.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~76 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
47°, with the Sun about 43° above the horizon

Solar longitude
294.2°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  98°
Sub-solar azimuth:  31.9°
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   (503MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (263MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (182MB)
non-map           (339MB)

IRB color
map projected  (63MB)
non-map           (260MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (143MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (139MB)

RGB color
non map           (259MB)
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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.