Informative Layers
Informative Layers
ESP_066762_1050  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows layering near the base of the south polar layered deposits (SPLD). Radar observations of these deposits and their northern counterparts show that they are rich in water ice.

The layers apparently record ancient climate changes on Mars, similar to ice ages on Earth. But it has long been recognized that the surface of the SPLD is much older than the surface of the north polar layered deposits (NPLD). By counting the craters preserved on their surfaces, the NPLD is inferred to be less than 1,500 years old, while the surface of the SPLD has many more craters and is therefore many millions of years old.

While we don’t understand why these polar ice deposits have such different ages, they are both likely to preserve valuable information regarding Martian climate evolution.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff (narration: Tre Gibbs)  (17 March 2021)
Acquisition date
23 October 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
247.3 km (153.7 miles)

Original image scale range
49.5 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~149 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
60°, with the Sun about 30° above the horizon

Solar longitude
301.5°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  102°
Sub-solar azimuth:  45.1°
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   (314MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (176MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (209MB)
non-map           (211MB)

IRB color
map projected  (89MB)
non-map           (190MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (335MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (316MB)

RGB color
non map           (182MB)
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.