Landslides Near Fresh Crater on Mars

This April 6, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows numerous landslides in the vicinity of where an impact crater was excavated in March 2012.

The area covered in this image is about one-quarter mile (400 meters) across, centered about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) east of the largest fresh impact crater ever clearly confirmed anywhere by before-and-after images.  The crater, and likely these landslides, resulted from an impact that occurred in the interval between daily Mars-afternoon observations on March 27 and March 28, 2012, as determined from before-and-after observations of a large impact scar (see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18381)  and of the crater (see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18383). 

The landslides may have contributed to darkening of an area about 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide on the day of the impact. Landslides could result from one or more shock waves generated by the explosion of an asteroid piercing through the Martian atmosphere or impacts of the resulting fragments striking the ground.

This image is an excerpt from a HiRISE observation catalogued as ESP_036059_1835.  HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Page Last Updated: May 22nd, 2014
Page Editor: Tony Greicius