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Mars Express Captures Mountains On Mars

November 28, 2008

The High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA’s Mars Express imaged the Eumenides Dorsum mountains on the Red Planet.

Eumenides Dorsum lies at approximately 2° south and 206° east. The images, taken on 26 December 2007, have a ground resolution of about 13 m/pixel. They cover an area of about 12 000 square km.

The mountains are located to the west of the Tharsis Region, and form part of the Medusae-Fossae Region, which is most likely covered by a blanket of volcanic ash.

The region exhibits several kilometer-long linear structures interspersed with channels. The entire area bears evidence of the erosional force of wind, and possibly water, on Mars.

Although the martian atmosphere is rather thin compared to the Earth’s atmosphere ““ just 0.75% of mean surface pressure on Earth, corresponding to an altitude of about 35 km above Earth’s surface ““ it can be very dynamic and plays a major role in shaping the Red Planet’s landscape over a long period of time.

The region is dominated by features carved in sedimentary rocks created by the erosional action of the wind. The wind transports loose material, such as sand, and erodes the soft sedimentary rocks along existing structures like gaps, fault lines or incisions, removing the material.

Smaller mounds in the image centre have been eroded and look pyramid-shaped. In the imaged area, most of these features are oriented from north to south. Such preferential orientation develops in areas where the wind direction remains the same.

The smooth areas in the centre of the image and in the northern part of the region are most likely made of more resistant volcanic material. This is because magmatic rocks are usually harder than sedimentary rock and are less affected by erosion.

The color scenes have been derived from the three HRSC-color channels and the nadir channel. The perspective views have been calculated from the digital terrain model derived from the stereo channels. The anaglyph image was calculated from the nadir and one stereo channel.

Image Caption: The High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA’s Mars Express imaged the Eumenides Dorsum mountains on the Red Planet. Eumenides Dorsum is located in to the west of the Tharsis Region, and forms part of the Medusae-Fossae Region, at approximately 2° south and 206° east. The images, taken on 26 December 2007, have a ground resolution of about 13 m/pixel and cover an area of about 12 000 square km. Credits: ESA/ DLR/ FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

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