December 2, 2010
Mars Images Reveal Pits, Flows, Other Scenes
Newly released images from 340 recent observations of Mars by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show details of a wide assortment of Martian environments.
Strewn boulders and rippled sand lie on the floors of two shadowy, steep-walled pits. Mounds in another region appear to be mud volcanoes, which may have brought fine-grained material to the surface from deep underground. In the Tharsis volcanic region, the intersection of a lava flow with a trough caused by ground collapse allows seeing whether the flow happened before or after the collapse.
The camera is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which reached Mars in 2006. It has made more than 17,000 observations. Each observation covers an area of several square miles on Mars and reveals details as small as desks.
For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, see http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/.
Image Caption: This proposed future Mars landing site in Acidalia Planitia targets densely occurring mounds thought to be mud volcanoes. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona