NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/USGS
Edge along Gale Crater Interior Mound
One of the many tasks for the HiRISE camera on MRO is to characterize sites on Mars where future missions could potentially land. The next planned spacecraft to land on the red planet will be the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which will be about the size and mass of a small car (the current MER rovers are each roughly the size of a golf cart).

Shown here is a topographic map generated from a stereo pair of HiRISE images over Gale Crater, one of the candidate landing sites from MSL. Gale contains a central mound of layered sediments that exceed several kilometers in thickness. In fact, the total vertical exposure is over twice that exposed in the deepest parts of the Grand Canyon on Earth.

The top potion of the scene has the lowest topography, and as we move down the image we are moving upslope onto the layered mound. A rover would likely trace the same path by landing on a flat portion of the floor and driving south up into the layers. Here we see layers of variable induration or hardness. Harder layers tend to form steeper, cliff-like exposures while weaker, more erodible layers tend to form shallower slopes. If Gale crater is selected as the MSL landing site, the rover will hopefully tell us more about the climatic and environmental record that is captured in the layered sediments.

Written by Brad Thomson

 
DTM & ORTHOIMAGES
DTEEC_001488_1750_001752_1750_U02   (360 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(34 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(35 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_RED_A_01_ORTHO
(429 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_RED_A_01_ORTHO
(413 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_IRB_C_01_ORTHO
(16 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_IRB_A_01_ORTHO
(196 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_IRB_A_01_ORTHO
(198 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_IRB_C_01_ORTHO
(16 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_RED_A_01_ORTHO
(371 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_RED_A_01_ORTHO
(389 MB)

PSP_001488_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(35 MB)

PSP_001752_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(33 MB)

Full directory listing

DTM EXTRAS
PSP_001752_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
PSP_001488_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
PSP_001752_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
PSP_001488_1750_IRB_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
DTEEC_001488_1750_001752_1750_U02
(Annotated Browse)
PSP_001752_1750_IRB_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
PSP_001488_1750_RED_C_01_ORTHO
(Annotated Browse)
DTEEC_001488_1750_001752_1750_U02
(Shaded Relief)
DTEEC_001488_1750_001752_1750_U02
(Color Altimetry)

Extras Read me
Extras directory listing
STEREO PAIR
Left observation
PSP_001488_1750

Right observation
PSP_001752_1750

Latitude (center)
-4.83°

Longitude (center)
137.3°

Map scale
1.01 meter/pixel

North azimuth
270°


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