South Polar Layered Deposits and Residual Cap
South Polar Layered Deposits and Residual Cap
PSP_002856_0875  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows a variety of surface textures within the south polar residual cap of Mars.

It was taken during the southern spring, when the surface was covered by seasonal carbon dioxide frost, so that surface relief is easily seen. Illumination is from the bottom left, highlighting long troughs at to the right and round pits and irregular mesas to the left of center.

These unique landforms are common in the south polar residual cap, which is known from previous Mars Global Surveyor images to be eroding rapidly in places. Right of center, polar layered deposits are exposed on a sun-facing scarp. These deposits are older than the residual ice cap, and the layers are thought to record climate variations on Mars similar to ice ages on Earth.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (21 March 2007)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_003249_0925.
Acquisition date
06 March 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
244.7 km (152.1 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
86°, with the Sun about 4° above the horizon

Solar longitude
195.7°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  187°
Sub-solar azimuth:  33.7°
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Black and white
map-projected  (362MB)
non-map           (408MB)

IRB color
map projected  (102MB)
non-map           (362MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (161MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (160MB)

RGB color
non map           (352MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

B&W label
Color label
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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.