Mars Odyssey Image: Acheron Fossae in Visible Light

Press Release From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, March 1, 2002

larger image: 450 kB .tif

This visible-light image, taken by the thermal emission imaging system's camera on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, shows the highly fractured, faulted and deformed Acheron Fossae region of Mars. The scarps visible in this image are approximately one Ua kilometer (3,300 feet) high, based on topography derived from the laser altimeter instrument on Mars Global Surveyor.

Dark streaks only 50 meters (164 feet) across can be seen on some of the cliff faces. These streaks may be formed when the pervasive dust mantle covering this region gives way on steep slopes to create dust avalanches.

The image also shows impact craters as small as 500 meters (1,640 feet) in diameter, as well as smooth and textured plains.

Acheron Fossae is located 1,050 kilometers (650 miles) north of the large shield volcano Olympus Mons. This image covers an area about 18 by 9 kilometers (11 by 6 miles) centered at 37 degrees north, 131 degrees west. North is to the top of this image, which was acquired on February 19, 2002, at about 3:15 p.m. local Martian time.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The thermal emission imaging system was provided by Arizona State University, Tempe. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

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