Impact Crater
118 of 501

Impact Crater

October 9, 2009
October 4, 1957 marked the 45th anniversary of the dawn of the Space Age. On this date the former Soviet Union launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1. Sputnik means fellow traveler. For comparison Sputnik 1 weighed only 83.6 kg (184 pounds) while Mars Odyssey weighs in at 758 kg (1,671 pounds).

This scene shows several interesting geologic features associated with impact craters on Mars. The continuous lobes of material that make up the ejecta blanket of the large impact crater are evidence that the crater ejecta were fluid- ized upon impact of the meteor that formed the crater. Volatiles within the surface mixed with the ejecta upon impact thus creating the fluidized form. Several smaller impact craters are also observed within the ejecta blanket of the larger impact crater giving a relative timing of events. Layering of geologic units is also observed within the large impact crater walls and floor and may represent different compositional units that erode at variable rates. Cliff faces, dissected gullies, and heavily eroded impact craters are observed in the bottom half of the image at the terminus of a flat-topped plateau.

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