This image shows the dissected interior of a crater in the Cydonia region of Mars. The flat-topped buttes and mesas in the northern portion of the image were once a continuous layer of material that filled the crater. Since deposition, the material has been disturbed and dissected. The process that causes such landforms is not well known, but likely involves frozen subsurface water that may have found its way to the surface. The surfaces on the mesas are not rough, suggesting that the whole scene is mantled with fine dust, masking the details that may give clues to whether surface water was involved at some point in the past. Small recent channels can be seen in the lower left. This is an indication of relatively recent small-scale surface activity, which has been could have been volcanic, fluvial, or some process involving subsurface volatiles (ice).
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.