Melas Chasma is part of the largest canyon system on Mars, Valles Marineris. At only 563 km long (349 miles) it is not the longest canyon, but it is the widest. Located in the center of Valles Marineris, it has depths up to 9 km below the surrounding plains, and is the location of many large landslide deposits, as will as layered materials and sand dunes. There is evidence of both water and wind action as modes of formation for many of the interior deposits. This VIS image is located along the northern cliff face of the chasma. The linear features are large landslide surfaces. A region of sand dunes is located along the change in elevation from the cliff face at the top of the image and the floor of the canyon at the bottom of the image.
The Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions. Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all. For the next several months the image of the day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dunes fields. We hope you enjoy these images!
Orbit Number: 31790 Latitude: -10.3951 Longitude: 290.141 Instrument: VIS Captured: 2009-02-12 20:47
Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, 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.