Image: Hooke Crater in Mars’ southern highlands


Chaotic mounds, wind-sculpted ripples and dust devil tracks: this image reveals a charming and otherworldly panorama near Hooke Crater in Mars’ southern highlands.

The image was taken by the CaSSIS digicam onboard the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on 1 February 2021, and divulges part of Argyre Planitia, centered at 46.2°S/318.3°E.

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This type of environment is rather like ‘chaotic terrain’: a type of broken, disrupted terrain seen all through Mars the place haphazard groups of variously sized and shaped rocks—irregular knobs, conical mounds, ridges, flat-topped hills typically often known as mesas—clump collectively, usually enclosed inside depressions. There are spherical 30 areas of chaotic terrain outlined on Mars (see ESA Mars Express views of Ariadnes Colles, Pyrrhae Regio, and Iani Chaos for under a small sample); whereas this small patch has not been outlined as one amongst these, its look is certainly chaotic.

Perhaps most likely probably the most hanging attribute proper right here is the wispy, snaking tendrils stretching out all through the physique. These darkish traces of earlier train had been attributable to dust devils, whirlwinds of dust that occur on every Mars and Earth when warmth air rises quickly into cooler air. These devils depart tracks on a planet’s ground as they journey via dusty landscapes. The tracks proper right here appear to have a north-south orientation, indicating a doable native wind pattern.

The bluish tinge to the dust devil tracks seen this is a outcomes of the three filters that had been combined to create this image; whereas not advisor of what an observer would see with the naked eye, these filters produce a coloration infrared image with larger sensitivity to variations in ground mineralogy.

TGO arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018. The spacecraft simply is not solely returning spectacular photographs like this one, however as well as providing top-of-the-line ever inventory of the planet’s atmospheric gases, and mapping the planet’s ground for water-rich locations. It might also current information relay suppliers for the second ExoMars mission, comprising the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok platform, when it arrives on Mars in 2023.

Image: Hooke Crater in Mars’ southern highlands (2022, February 11)
retrieved 11 February 2022

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