Craters on South Polar Layered Deposits
Craters on South Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_002882_0940  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This subimage, about 2.5 kilometers across, shows the south polar layered deposits exposed in a scarp illuminated from the lower right.

This image was taken in the southern spring (2007), when the surface was completely covered by carbon dioxide frost. Therefore, most of the brightness variations in this scene are caused by topography.

The polar layered deposits are broken into blocks by fractures in two directions. Neither set of fractures is parallel to the current scarp face, suggesting that they were not formed as the scarp was eroded, but instead are due to pre-existing weaknesses in the polar layered deposits.

The four craters at lower left appear to have formed at the same time by an impactor that broke up as it entered the Martian atmosphere. The presence of many craters such as these on the south polar layered deposits indicates that they are not as young as the north polar layered deposits, which have very few craters on them.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (25 April 2007)
Acquisition date
08 March 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
245.5 km (152.6 miles)

Original image scale range
24.7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~74 cm across are resolved

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25 cm/pixel

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Solar incidence angle
84°, with the Sun about 6° above the horizon

Solar longitude
196.9°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  140°
Sub-solar azimuth:  33.7°
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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.