The Medusae Fossae formation, seen in this NASA Mars Odyssey image, is an enigmatic pile of eroding sediments that spans over 5,000 km (3,107 miles) in discontinuous masses along the Martian equator.

Released 15 April 2003

The Medusae Fossae formation is an enigmatic pile of eroding sediments that spans over 5000 km in discontinuous masses along the martian equator. The yardang ridges, formed from the scouring action of windblown sand, are a characteristic feature of this formation. In this image, there is evidence for a period of erosion when winds scoured the surface at nearly right angles to the prominent yardang direction.

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.

Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -5.1, Longitude 184.4 East (175.6 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

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