A variegated mottled texture is readily apparent in this terrain located NW of the volcano, Elysium Mons. The Hrad Vallis (the Armenian word for Mars) channel system can be seen sauntering across the bumpy landscape of Utopia Planitia. The upper branch of Hrad Vallis has a large chunk of material on its floor; this chunk appears to have been rafted away from the material on the far left of the image (moved from left to right). This unusual because the channel flows toward the left. This material may be lava flows. Many craters in this region of the planet have their interiors filled with material. Pedestal craters (craters with ejecta blankets perched higher than the surrounding plains) are also found in these regions. These observations seem to imply that this region was once buried and has now been uncovered (exhumed). The exact causes and timing of these events are unknown.
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.
Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude 40.6, Longitude 134.2 East (225.8 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.