Looking at Martian Salts and Clays

November 27, 2018

Map Projected Browse Image
Click on image for larger version

This 3D perspective view is a composite of both HiRISE and data from CRISM, another instrument onboard MRO. This view covers a small patch of ancient Martian real estate in Terra Sirenum.

CRISM collects spectral data that can be used as a chemical fingerprint for the upper most surface. This information suggests that this small patch of surface is covered with salts (chlorides) represented in green and water-rich clays that appear in blue.

CRISM colors can be added to high-resolution images to enhance our knowledge of these materials. They also match nicely with the surface features in our HiRISE image. For example, a fissure near the center of the image may be a a clue to the origin of the salts. The fissure may be a fracture where warm salt-laden water may have welled up, erupted and ponded on the surface. These waters then evaporated leaving the salt-rich deposits behind.

The map is projected here at a scale of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) per pixel. [The original image scale is 25.4 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel (with 1 x 1 binning); objects on the order of 76 centimeters (30.0 inches) across are resolved.] North is up.

This is a stereo pair with PSP_006668_1470.

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 Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona


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