Mineralogical Diversity in Nili Fossae
Mineralogical Diversity in Nili Fossae
PSP_009138_2025  Science Theme: Rocks and Regolith
There is evidence of clays throughout the Nili Fossae region. This evidence derives from infrared spectrometers (that can identify minerals on the surface) from two instruments: the OMEGA experiment on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft and CRISM on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

In the Nili Fossae region, the spectrometers have found remarkable diversity in surface composition. Because of the evidence for clays and other interesting geology, Nili Fossae is also being considered as a landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory rover.

HiRISE has targeted several places where OMEGA and CRISM show extreme diversity, with this being one example. In this specific area, low-calcium pyroxene materials are adjacent to these clays. The cracked terrain regions evident at the highest resolution provide clues to the sequence of events which occurred in Nili Fossae.

Written by: Nicolas Thomas  (20 August 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008426_2025.
Acquisition date
08 July 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
280.7 km (174.5 miles)

Original image scale range
29.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~89 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

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

Solar longitude
95.9°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  20.1°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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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/JPL/University of Arizona

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.