Structure of the North Polar Layered Deposits
Structure of the North Polar Layered Deposits
PSP_010008_2630  Science Theme: Polar Geology
This image shows an exposure of the north polar layered deposits (NPLD) within the northern residual ice cap. The polar layered deposits are thought to have been formed by recent climate changes on Mars, like ice ages on Earth.

Scientists are studying the NPLD to learn more about these climate changes on Mars. In many places, the NPLD layers appear to extend over large areas, suggesting that they were deposited from atmospheric suspension. If the layers in this image are horizontal and continuous, the apparent curves are caused by erosion of valleys into the NPLD. To determine whether this is the case, HiRISE has acquired two images of this location to form a stereo pair. Analysis of this stereo pair will allow the orientation and thickness of the layers to be measured across the region of stereo coverage, constraining hypotheses for their formation.

Also visible in this image are bright and dark streaks that may be caused by the redistribution of frost by winds.

Written by: Ken Herkenhoff  (12 November 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_009969_2630.
Acquisition date
14 September 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
317.6 km (197.4 miles)

Original image scale range
33.1 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~99 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
63°, with the Sun about 27° above the horizon

Solar longitude
127.0°, Northern Summer

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  126°
Sub-solar azimuth:  321.8°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (697MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (336MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (355MB)
non-map           (264MB)

IRB color
map projected  (139MB)
non-map           (247MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (207MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (190MB)

RGB color
non map           (215MB)
Map-projected, reduced-resolution
Full resolution JP2 download
Anaglyph details page

DTM details page

B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
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/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.