This HiRISE image shows an impact crater in Utopia Planitia, in the northern hemisphere of Mars, that is filled with layered material. The layered character of these deposits is consistent with episodic deposition. Each distinct layer represents a period of sediment deposition. The layers are parallel to each other, indicating that deposition occurred by material settling onto the surface, rather than being blown across the surface in sand dunes. The hummocky texture of these deposits suggests that volatiles (such as carbon dioxide ice) are mixed in with the rocky sediment.
Image PSP_001410_2210 was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft on November 14, 2006. The complete image is centered at 40.8 degrees latitude, 99.5 degrees East longitude. The range to the target site was 295.9 km (185.0 miles). At this distance the image scale ranges from 29.6 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) to 59.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning). The image shown here has been map-projected to 25 cm/pixel and north is up. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 3:22 PM and the scene is illuminated from the west with a solar incidence angle of 49 degrees, thus the sun was about 41 degrees above the horizon. At a solar longitude of 135.2 degrees, the season on Mars is Northern Summer.
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, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo.