Friday, September 14, 2012

Colorful Surface Near Nili Fossae

This enhanced-color image shows a surface with diverse colors just southwest of Nili Fossae. The color diversity of this mesa suggests that the surface has a varied composition, perhaps recording chemical processes of ancient Mars.

Much of the surface shows a chaotic mix of colors, but the northern impact crater exposes distinct layers. Different layers have different colors. There are several possible reasons for this: the events that formed the layers could have drawn material from different sources, or the layers could have been altered differently after they formed, for reasons such as varying porosity.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_019898_2000.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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