These Mars Odyssey images show layered deposits located on the floor of Ganges Chasma, part of the Valles Marineris canyon system, in both infrared (left) and visible (right) wavelengths. The images were acquired simultaneously by the thermal emission imaging system on March 17, 2002. The box shows where the visible image is located within the infrared image. The infrared image displays variations in surface temperature where bright tones indicate warmer surfaces and dark tones are cooler ones. Dramatic layering can be seen throughout the central deposit in both the infrared and visible images. Different styles of erosion are shown in these different layers, suggesting that Mars was subject to changing environments during its history. The infrared image has a resolution of 100 meters (328 feet) per pixel and is 32 kilometers (20 miles) wide. The visible image has a resolution of 18 meters per pixel and is approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles) wide. Pixel brightness in the infrared image is controlled by the temperature of the surface, which is in turn depend on how much Sun the area gets. Hence, dark units will heat up during the day and appear bright in the infrared. Conversely, visibly bright areas will not heat up as much and will appear dark in the infrared image. The images are centered at 7.1 degrees south latitude and 310.4 degrees east longitude.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.