Schiaparelli Crater is a 460 kilometer (286 mile) wide multi-ring structure. However, it is a very shallow crater, apparently filled by younger materials such as lava and/or fluvial and aeolian sediments as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
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Layers and Sand on the Floor of Schiaparelli Crater

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Schiaparelli Crater is a 460 kilometer (286 mile) wide multi-ring structure. However, it is a very shallow crater, apparently filled by younger materials such as lava and/or fluvial and aeolian sediments.

Most of the floor is covered by a thin layer of dust, but in places where there are patches of dark sand, there is also well-exposed bedrock. This sand-bedrock association is commonly seen on Mars, and most likely, the sand is actively saltating (hopping in the wind) and kicks off the dust.

The enhanced-color cutout reveals the relatively bright bedrock, which has a morphology similar to other deposits on Mars interpreted as "dust-stone", or ancient dust deposits that have been hardened into coherent bedrock.

In summary, one interpretation is that actively-moving sand kicks off the loose dust so we can see the hardened dust.

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 details

ID#:
PIA18635

Date added:
2014-07-30

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Spacecraft:
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Instruments:
High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)

Rating:



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257

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA18635.tif (15.56 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA18635.jpg (1.02 MB)

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