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Mars' Victoria Crater Seen from New Angle
By Staff
posted: 13 August 2009
03:48 pm ET

An image of the Victoria Crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The image was captured at more of a sideways angle than earlier images of this crater. This view is similar to what would be observed by looking out the window of an airplane flying over Mars. The camera pointing was 22 degrees east of straight down (east is at the top of the image).

The most interesting features of the crater are in its steep walls, which are difficult to see from straight overhead. A bright band near the top of the crater wall is especially prominent in this view. The image's colors have been enhanced to make subtle differences more visible. Earlier HiRISE images of the Victoria Crater supported further exploration by NASA's Opportunity rover and contributed to joint scientific studies. Opportunity explored the rim and interior of this 800-meter-wide (half-mile-wide) crater from September 2006 through August 2008. The rover's on-site investigations indicated that the bright band near the top of the crater wall was formed by diagenesis (chemical and physical changes in sediments after they were deposited). The bright band separates bedrock from the material displaced by the impact that dug the crater.
This view is a cutout from a HiRISE exposure taken on July 18, 2009. Some of Opportunity's tracks are still visible to the north of the crater (left side of this cutout).
Full-frame images from this HiRISE observation, catalogued as ESP_013954_1780, are at The full-frame image is centered at 2.1 degrees south latitude, 354.5 degrees east longitude. It was taken at 2:31 p.m. local Mars time. The scene is illuminated from the west with the sun 49 degrees above the horizon.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at Caltech, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson.


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