A Sedimentary Fan in Southeast Gale Crater
Gale Crater is well-known as the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, which has explored the northwest crater floor since 2012. But the entire crater is full of fascinating geology, some beyond the rover's reach.
This image covers a fan of sedimentary rock on the southeast crater floor. Ridges on the fan surface may be composed of coarse-grained sediment deposited in ancient streams. More recent wind erosion of the surrounding finer sediments could have left these channel deposits elevated in "inverted relief." A closeup shows some of these ridges, as well as light-toned layers of sediment exposed along the fan edge.
The fan is also punctured by scattered circular impact craters. One of these craters appears to have a circular deposit of sedimentary rock filling its floor, suggesting that it formed during the span of time that streams were active here. Features like this help scientists to infer the geologic history of the region.
The map is projected here at a scale of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 27.5 centimeters [10.8 inches] per pixel [with 1 x 1 binning]; objects on the order of 82 centimeters [32.3 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.
This is a stereo pair with ESP_079844_1740.
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.