A color image of Nili Fossae with large light and dark-toned bands of minerals.

March 26, 2014

In a Context Camera (CTX) image, there is a large angular fragment that appears to have light and dark-toned bands. HiRISE images of similar fragments nearby also show this banding, and the resolution of our camera may help determine what these layers are.

Nili Fossae was once considered a potential landing spot for the Mars Science Laboratory, and has one of the largest, most diverse exposures of clay minerals. Clay minerals contain water in their mineral structure and may preserve organic materials.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona


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