The objective of this observation is to examine what may be formerly ice-rich terrain that has just lost ice to the atmosphere.
Research with the Shallow Radar instrument onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found that many areas in Deuteronilus Mensae are glaciers with a thin layer of debris on top of them. This image may show a transition from ice-rich to ice-poor terrain.
Removal of buried ice can cause collapse and may be responsible for the strange appearance of this terrain. Understanding the origin of features in this image tells us something about when buried ice was stable or unstable and therefore helps us figure out how the climate of Mars has changed.
Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona