This image was taken in the mid-latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere near the giant Argyre impact basin. It is located just to the west of a prominent scarp known as Bosporos Rupes. The left side of the image shows cratered plains. Some of the craters are heavily mantled and indistinct, whereas others exhibit sharp rims and dramatic topography. The largest crater in this half of the image is about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) wide. Mounds and ridges, which may be remnants of an ice-rich deposit, are visible on its floor. Three sinuous valleys occupy the center of the image. Valleys such as these were first observed in data returned by the NASA Mariner 9 spacecraft, which reached Mars in 1971. The right side of the image shows part of an impact crater that is approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter. The furrowed appearance of the crater's inner wall suggests that it has been extensively modified, perhaps by landslides and flowing water. Like other craters in the area, the floor of this crater has a rough and dissected texture that is often attributed to the loss of ice-rich material.
This image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft on March 24, 2006. The image is centered at 40.64 degrees south latitude, 303.49 degrees east longitude. The image is oriented such that north is 7 degrees to the left of up. The range to the target was 2,044 kilometers (1,270 miles). At this distance the image scale is 2.04 meters (6.69 feet) per pixel, so objects as small as 6.1 meters (20 feet) are resolved. In total this image is 40.90 kilometers (25.41 miles) or 20,081 pixels wide and 11.22 kilometers (6.97 miles) or 5,523 pixels high. 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 81.4 degrees, thus the sun was about 8.6 degrees above the horizon. At an Ls of 29 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: http://www.nasa.gov/mro or http://HiRISE.lpl.arizona.edu. For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov.
JPL, 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.