Saturday, March 24, 2012

Magical Mystery Mound

How exactly these strange landforms came to be is a mystery. It probably isn't magical, but the catchy Beatles-era title did get you to read this caption.

The contorted material sits on the floor of a degraded impact crater. It has some bizarrely grooved textures that show up nicely with the low-sun illumination (with the Sun approximately 7 degrees above the horizon). We've seen this texture elsewhere on Mars, so a systematic study might lead to a good hypothesis about its origin.

The color data reveals some bluish material-- seasonal frost that is just starting to accumulate here in late fall.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Note: The crater where this mound is located is in Noachis Terra, very close to Asimov Crater, to the northwest, and Maunder Crater, due west.

No comments: