Sunday, March 13, 2011

Carbonates at Huygens Crater

This image shows the context for orbital observations of exposed rocks that had been buried an estimated 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep on Mars. It covers an area about 560 kilometers (350 miles) across, dominated by the Huygens crater, which is about the size of Wisconsin.

The impact that excavated Huygens lifted material from far underground and piled some of it in the crater's rim. At about the 10 o'clock position around the rim of Huygens lies an unnamed crater about 35 kilometers (22 miles) in diameter that has punched into the uplifted rim material and exposed rocks containing carbonate minerals. The minerals were identified by observations with the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

North is toward the top of this image, which is centered at 14 degrees south latitude, 304.4 degrees west longitude.

The image combines topographical information from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor with daytime infrared imaging by the Thermal Emission Imaging System camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

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