Tuesday, January 06, 2009

UA's HiRISE camera wraps up primary mission

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, with the UA HiRISE camera aboard, wrapped up its primary mission last month and the New York Times wrote about its accomplishments today.

HiRISE has a resolution of about a meter, resulting in a long string of spectacular Martian images.

In the image at right, showcased on the HiRISE website today, "the crater area shown is intersected by one of the putative shorelines of the hypothesized ancient northern ocean.

"It is in a region which has also been proposed to have younger Amazonian fluvial deposits. The south rim of the crater is additionally cut by well-defined gullies.

"The crater is filled with sediments, possibly fluvial or lacustrine in origin. They were probably emplaced in two or more separate episodes, as two different floor units are clearly visible, separated by a fractured zone. The erosion pattern of the mesa walls shows that the inner structure of the upper floor material is densely layered. The mass wasting (landslide) deposits from the mesas superimpose the aeolian ripples, suggesting that the mesa degradation and fracturing is recent, and possibly even ongoing."

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