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This image shows terrain northeast of Martz Crater in the southern highlands of Mars.
Full Res JPG (17.5 MB)

Sample of Mid-latitude Southern Highlands

This image shows terrain northeast of Martz Crater in the southern highlands of Mars. It is a landscape dominated by impact craters, scarps and ridges. The plethora of craters and the overprinting of younger craters on older craters indicate that this is an ancient surface. Curvilinear ridges called "wrinkle ridges" are common landforms on Mars. They form when layers of rock and sediment break and fold under compression. Multiple wrinkle ridges are captured in this image, the most prominent of which is a curving structure oriented approximately north-south. A 2.8-kilometer-wide (1.7-mile-wide) impact crater is superimposed on this north-south wrinkle ridge. Gullies, perhaps carved by water or muddy debris, are visible inside this crater. They are partly in shadow, but can be shown clearly by adjusting the contrast of the full-resolution image. Several of the smaller craters in this image contain dune fields, which attest to the presence of wind-blown sediments. In the lower portion of the image a few cliffs or scarps can be seen. While their origin is uncertain, they may have formed by some combination of flowing water and mass wasting.

If one looks carefully at this image, it is possible to find horizontal blurred zones about 100 pixels tall. During these times the spacecraft was executing a test of how much the motion of another instrument would shake the spacecraft. These blurred regions also introduce geometric distortions, so the match between the three CCD images utilized for this observation is sometimes poor. The MRO spacecraft includes a high-stability mode that should minimize these problems.

Image AEB_000002_0000_Red was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft on March 25, 2006. The image is centered at 33.66 degrees south latitude, 145.97 degrees east longitude. It is oriented such that north is 7 degrees to the left of up. The range to the target was 2,485 kilometers (1,544 miles). At this distance the image scale is 2.49 meters (8.17 feet) per pixel, so objects as small as 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) are resolved. In total this image is 15.01 kilometers (9.33 miles) or 6,045 pixels wide and 57.27 kilometers (35.59 miles) or 23,024 pixels long. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 07:30 and the scene is illuminated from the upper right with a solar incidence angle of 78.7 degrees, thus the sun was about 11.3 degrees above the horizon. At an Ls of 30 degrees (with Ls an indicator of Mars' position in its orbit around the sun), the season on Mars is southern autumn.

Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment and additional information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are available online at: or For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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