PIA26328: Sediment Ponds in Tithonium Chasma
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Spacecraft:  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
 Instrument:  HiRISE
 Product Size:  2880 x 1800 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other products from ESP_082582_1755
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA26328.tif (8.125 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA26328.jpg (1.106 MB)

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This survey of the canyon floor of Tithonium Chasma in Valles Marineris reveals terrain of two distinct ages. The slopes and hilltops here are made up of rough rocky outcrop that was sculpted by impact craters of all sizes. In contrast, the valley floors are filled with light toned, smooth materials with far fewer large craters.

At HiRISE resolution, we can see that the "smooth" materials are in fact littered with boulders and small impact craters, so they cannot have been emplaced very recently. However, the absence of larger craters tells us that the smooth materials are much younger than the ancient rocky outcrops of the canyon floor.

The smooth materials appear to be sediments that were deposited possibly by the wind, long after the canyon was formed. The sediments filled in the low lying spots in the canyon floor, leaving a landscape that resembles lakes and ponds but is made up of dust and sand instead of water.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 53.5 centimeters [21.1 inches] per pixel [with 2 x 2 binning]; objects on the order of 160 centimeters [63.0 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.

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

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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