PIA18511: A Large Crater in Meridiani Planum
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Instrument:  HiRISE
 Product Size:  840 x 333 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other products from image ESP_036397_1785
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA18511.tif (280.2 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA18511.jpg (73.14 kB)

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This crater is located in Meridiani Planum, about 20-kilometers northwest of where the Opportunity rover landed in 2004 (and about 42-kilometers northwest of Endeavour Crater's rim, where the rover has been busy the past few years). Although it's in the opposite direction from where the rover went, this crater is still an interesting place.

With a diameter of 4-kilometers, it's the largest crater in the region other than Endeavour Crater (22 kilometers). It's also a little more than 5 times larger than Victoria Crater (0.75 km), which Opportunity spent nearly 2 years investigating from 2006-2008 (compare with PIA08824).

What makes it worth checking out? This crater is much older than Victoria Crater. Compare the smooth, rounded rim of this crater to the jagged edge of Victoria's actively-eroding rim. In comparison with Victoria, this crater is much more filled in by sediments, and its rim is more planed off by erosion. Despite the difference in age and scale, these two craters, and most such craters in Meridiani Planum, have much in common. Both craters have exposed bedrock layers along the rim, a field of bright ripples on the crater floor, and dark sand that has piled up along the north inner crater rim and that extends to the northwest on the plains beyond the crater.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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