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Perspective View of Ariadnes Colles
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Perspective View of Ariadnes Colles

May 14, 2009

This image, taken by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera, show the region of Ariadnes Colles on the Red Planet.

The data was acquired on 16 April 2007 in the region of Ariadnes Colles that lies at about 34° south and 172° east. The ground resolution is about 13 m/pixel.

Mars exhibits numerous 'chaotic terrains'. These are areas with an apparently inordinate accumulation of rocks of varying sizes and flat-topped features.

Ariadnes Colles is one such chaotic terrain located in the planet's southern highlands. It covers an area of 180 x 160 sq km, roughly half the size of Estonia. These images show the northwestern part of the region.

Most of the area pictured is dominated by erratically shaped rocks that are 1-10 km in size. These are lighter in colour compared to their surroundings. Some larger blocks appear similar to mesa, a flat-topped natural feature found on Earth, and can reach a height of 300 m.

In contrast to other chaotic terrains such as Iani Chaos, Adrianes Colles is not a water-source region. It is still debated, therefore, whether Ariadnes Colles was formed by the action of water or wind.