Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Future Mars Landing Site in Acidalia Mensa

Candidate landing site in Acidalia Mensa for future Mars missions.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Note: This is another very weak caption, and there's not a lot of other information that can be gleaned as to the importance of Acidalia Mensa as a potential landing site. Acidalia Mensa itself is an outcrop of highland material in the much larger Acidalia Planitia. (Mensa (pl. mensae) are mesa-like areas of raised land.) Perhaps this area represents either: a) a possible "island" shoreline where Acidalia Mensa poked out of the proposed Oceanus Borealis and is less covered by sediments that more thickly cover Vastitas Borealis itself, or b) Acidalia Mensa didn't poke out of the proposed ocean, but the sediments are still thinner here than elsewhere, allowing a rover to examine the mensa's original rock and any hydrated minerals that were formed by the ocean and/or later wet climactic conditions. But all this is just a guess on my part. :)

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