I was just thinking it had been awhile since we featured images from the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, so I moseyed over to the HiRISE website only to be blown away by their newest releases. This incredible crater in Meridiani Planum shows a possible double whammy of impacts. It looks as though material filled in the original crater only to be blown out a second time. Another option is that the material in the crater could have collapsed, giving the appearance of a second impact. You can bet the HiRISE team will be looking more closely at this one. Before we move on to more great images, an update on MRO, which unexpectedly went into “safe” mode last week: MRO has now been restored to full operations, after switching to its backup computer. Engineers successfully transitioned the orbiter out of limited-activity “safe” mode on Saturday, Aug. 8, and resumed use of the spacecraft’s science instruments on Monday, Aug. 10. This has happened a few times, and engineers are trying to figure out the root cause of this.
Now, on to the images!
We seen Victoria Crater before, but not like this! This is an oblique view of Victoria, the crater that MER rover Opportunity studied for over a year. Here, the image has been rotated so that we are looking east, with MRO pointed 22 degrees east of straight down, so it is comparable to a view from an airplane window. Some of the rover tracks are still visible to the north of the crater (left side of the image). Full disclosure: colors have been enhanced to show subtle differences. But beautiful, nonetheless! And oh, look! If you zoom in on the larger version of this image you can see a little rover scampering across the plains: (thanks to Stu Atkinson for the colorized zoom-in of this image!)
What an awe-inspiring view of this crater near Capri Mensa, showing sharp ridges in the walls of a crater! Enjoy the full image awesomeness, too.
This one looks like something out of a sci-fi movie! These are gullies cut into a crater wall and the dark, eerie lighting inside this crater would be the perfect hideout for an intergalactic villain. Mwahaha!
For more info on each image, click on the image to go to the approriate page on the HiRISE website.