This image covers part of Tithonium Chasma, which is part of the Valles Marineris system of canyons that stretch for thousands of kilometers. The contrast between dark sandy surfaces covered by dunes and bright dusty surfaces with a rather uniform appearance is clearly visible in the bottom half of the image. Small cut channels and flat-topped buttes, representing an erosional remnant of a resistant layer of rock, are also observed and covered by dust. In the top half of the image, ridgelines are observed in the canyon walls with small dark streaks trailing downslope; these streaks suggest that the sediments covering this area occasionally become unstable and slide.
Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.
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 (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. 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.