Pocked Craters of Mars
Pocked Craters of Mars
ESP_075356_0970  Science Theme: Polar Geology
Woah, no need to reach for the benzoyl peroxide or pimple patches! These reddish and white patches are actually depressions (not hills), still covered in seasonal carbon dioxide ice on Mars’ South Polar layered deposits.

This crater cluster is unusual because most craters near the South Pole are single ones. Crater clusters likely form when the incoming space rock breaks up in Mars’ atmosphere, though recent work suggests that this impactor breakup is not latitude or elevation dependent. Rather than properties of Mars’ atmosphere causing the break up, the impactors themselves might already be weakened to be consistent with the observations. This new work also finds that over half of new small impacts detected by HiRISE are clusters.

While we don’t know when these specific craters formed, their small size and clustered appearance are consistent with these dated crater results, suggesting their most out of this world feature is their dry-ice covered appearance.

Written by: Margaret Landis  (2 November 2022)

Acquisition date
24 August 2022

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
244.5 km (152.0 miles)

Original image scale range
24.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~73 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon

Solar longitude
291.0°, Northern Winter

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  112°
Sub-solar azimuth:  47.6°
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   (588MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (354MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (251MB)
non-map           (452MB)

IRB color
map projected  (104MB)
non-map           (335MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (183MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (167MB)

RGB color
non map           (286MB)
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.