Craters and Wind Streaks
Craters and Wind Streaks
ESP_077931_1885  Science Theme: 
This image is of a small section of the Cerberus Fossae, which is a series of troughs and pits in the eastern equatorial region of Mars.

There are two prominent types of craters (semi-circular depressions) in this observation. The first are pits in the upper half of the image, which formed through collapse of the surface into underground caverns that are part of the Cerberus Fossae. The second are impact craters in the lower section that formed through the collision of meteoroids into the planet’s surface.

Interestingly, these two types of craters show different patterns of wind streaks, which are caused by the wind flowing through and around landforms and then removing dust and sand in some places and depositing these sediments in other places. The removal and deposition of these materials result in different surface colors because the dust, sand and bedrock have different optical properties.

Written by: Chris Okubo  (7 June 2023)

Acquisition date
12 March 2023

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
276.7 km (172.0 miles)

Original image scale range
27.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~83 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
36.1°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  18.4°
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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.