Light Toned Materials and Plains in South Meridiani (MSL)
Light Toned Materials and Plains in South Meridiani (MSL)
PSP_009563_1770  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
This image is one of the proposed landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and is located in southern Meridiani Planum (to the south of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landing site).

The image shows fairly smooth plains with small ripples, suggesting that wind is an active process here. The landing site is on the smooth hematite-bearing plains, and the “go-to” science target would include phyllosilicates (clay-minerals) that the CRISM instrument has detected in the mounds to the south of the landing ellipse (which begin in the southern part of the image).

Scientists believe phyllosilicates formed in the presence of water, which is of interest for the MSL mission goals, including possible past habitability. The suite of instruments on-board MSL could also help characterize the sulfate materials, which Opportunity has been studying since 2004.

This image is part of a stereo pair with PSP_009497_1770.

Written by: Jennifer Griffes  (1 September 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_009708_1770.
Acquisition date
10 August 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
268.3 km (166.8 miles)

Original image scale range
27.9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~84 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon

Solar longitude
110.8°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  36.8°
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RGB color
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Full resolution JP2 download
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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/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.