HiRISE: We’ll always have the South Pole

tumblr_pddtxz3X8t1rlz4gso1_1280We’ll always have the South Pole. While the global dust storm has obscured much of the surface, we’ve still been able to get some good images of the polar region. Can you also spot the example of pareidolia here?

Beautiful Mars series. [More at links]

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THEMIS: Breaking ground in Aram Chaos

Broken ground in Aram Chaos (THEMIS_IOTD_20180813)THEMIS Image of the Day, August 13, 2018. Today’s VIS image shows part of Aram Chaos. Aram Chaos was initially formed by a large impact.

Over time the crater interior was modified by several different processes, including liquid water. Located near Ares Vallis, a narrow channel links the Aram Chaos crater with Ares Vallis indicating a substantial amount of water was located in the crater.

Chaos forms from erosion of the surface into mesa features. With time the valleys expand creating the jumble of hills seen in the image.

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HiRISE: Source of flow east of Olympus Mons

tumblr_pd3opnxpC51rlz4gso1_1280Source of flow to the east of Olympus Mons. Here we see part of a linear depression with branching segments in Amazonian volcanic plains east of Olympus Mons. The flow source from this feature that exhibit volcanic and/or fluvial characteristics.

Beautiful Mars series. [More at links]

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Curiosity: Successful drilling at Stoer

2136-navcamSol 2136, August 9, 2018. Must be a case of third-time-lucky — Curiosity’s drill dug into the Pettegrove Point rock at Stoer and produced a respectable pile of tailings around the drill hole. Click the image to enlarge it. (Pre-drill Mastcam color view)

Sol 2136 raw images (from all cameras).

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THEMIS: Double impact at Buvinda Vallis

Lava channel Buvinda Vallis (THEMIS_IOTD_20180810)THEMIS Image of the Day, August 10, 2018. Today’s VIS image shows a portion of Buvinda Vallis, a channel near the flank of Hecates Tholus. The closeness of the volcano suggests that the channel was eroded by a lava flow, perhaps in a couple of stages.

The double impact, however, shows a definite sequence of events. First, a smaller impact hit close to the channel, then a larger one followed almost immediately after. With the larger crater showing a complete, round bowl, the impacts were not simultaneous but separated by a brief interval, perhaps only a couple of seconds. (Had the impactors struck together, the wall between the two craters would have been straight.)

Double asteroids are fairly common in the Main Belt, next outward from Mars’ orbit. This pair must have had at least a little distance between them.

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Weather update from Gale Crater

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HiRISE: Layers in a collapse trough near Aromatum Chaos

tumblr_pd3leesCxR1rlz4gso2_1280Layers in a collapse trough near Aromatum Chaos. Aromatum Chaos is a large depression, possibly formed due to a catastrophic flood event.

Beautiful Mars series. [More at links]

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Mars CO2 ice cap throughout the martian year

PIA22546This animation shows a side-by-side comparison of CO2 ice at the north (left) and south (right) Martian poles over the course of a typical year (two Earth years). This simulation isn’t based on photos; instead, the data used to create it came from two infrared instruments capable of studying the poles even when they’re in complete darkness.

As Mars enters fall and winter, reduced sunlight allows CO2 ice to grow, covering each pole. While ice at the north pole is fairly symmetrical, it’s somewhat asymmetrical during its retreat from the south pole for reasons scientists still don’t understand. Scientists are especially interested in studying how global dust events affect the growth and retreat of this polar ice. Mars’ seasons are caused by a tilt in the planet, resulting in winter at one of the planet’s poles while it’s summer at the other…. [More at link]

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Curiosity update: Try, try, and try again

FRB_586942111EDR_F0721316FHAZ00337M_-br2Sols 2136-37, August 8, 2018, update by MSL scientist Sarah Lamm: After two sols of analyzing our intended drill site in the Pettegrove Point member, we began plans to drill the target “Stoer.” Stoer has had Mastcam images, MAHLI images, APXS, and ChemCam observations acquired over the past two sols. The two previous drill attempts in this geologic member have not been able to get to successful depth since the rocks have been more resistant than what we saw earlier in the mission. Pettegrove Point is an important area to get a drill sample from because it is categorized as lower Vera Rubin Ridge. Curiosity has previously visited this area of Pettegrove Point on Sol 2097. On that sol we had a target “Caithness” which is close to our intended drill hole, Stoer. This is the last drill attempt in Pettegrove Point… [More at link]

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THEMIS: Terra Sabaea dark slope streaks

Dark slope streaks (THEMIS_IOTD_20180809)THEMIS Image of the Day, August 9, 2018. This VIS image is located in Terra Sabaea. The ridge near the right side of the image contains dark slope streaks.

These features are thought to form by downslope movement of material which either reveals the darker rock beneath the dust coating, or creates the darker surface by flow of a volatile just beneath the dust coating.

See more THEMIS Images of the Day by geological subject.

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