This image acquired on March 29, 2020 by NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows a pitted, blocky surface, but also more unusually, it has contorted, irregular features.

April 17, 2020

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This color HiRISE view shows a pitted, blocky surface, but also more unusually, it has contorted, irregular features.

Although there are impact craters in this area, some of the features (like in the lower center of the cutout) are too irregular to be relic impact craters or river channels. One possibility is that sedimentary layers have been warped from below to create these patterns. The freezing and thawing of subsurface ice is a mechanism that could have caused this.

Acidalia Planitia is part of the northern plains of Mars, at a latitude of 44 degrees north.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. (The original image scale is 63.7 centimeters [25.1 inches] per pixel [with 2 x 2 binning]; objects on the order of 191 centimeters [75.2 inches] across are resolved.) North is up.

The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in 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.

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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