A heart-shaped feature in the Arabia Terra region of Mars is show on the left, with additional context on the right, in excerpts of an image taken by the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Article written: 14 Feb , 2011 Updated: 24 Dec , 2015 by Ken Kremer
Happy Valentine’s Day from Mars to all the readers of Universe Today !
Well it’s truly a solar system wide Valentines celebration. From the Moon, Mars and even Comet Temple 1 with some pixie Stardust for the romantic rendezvous upcoming in a few short hours [Stardust-NExT Flyby at 11:37 p.m. EST Feb 14].
The Martian camera team from Malin Space Systems, San Diego, wishes to share a special heart-shaped feature from Arabia Terra – images above and below – with all Mars fans on this St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2011. And certainly, I love Mars ! Especially those gorgeous and brainy twin gals Spirit & Opportunity.
Heart-shaped feature in Arabia Terra on Mars at 21.9 degrees north latitude, 12.7 degrees west longitude. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
The image was taken on May 23, 2010 – at the start of northern summer on Mars – by the Malin-built and operated Context Camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The bright heart shaped feature is about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) long. Arabia Terra lies in the northern hemisphere of Mars
The tip of the heart lies above a small impact crater centered at 21.9 degrees north latitude, 12.7 degrees west longitude.
According to a JPL press release, “The crater is responsible for the formation of the bright, heart-shaped feature. When the impact occurred, darker material on the surface was blown away, and brighter material beneath it was revealed.
PIA13799: Heart-Shaped Feature in Arabia Terra (Wide View). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
Some of this brighter material appears to have flowed further downslope to form the heart shape, as the small impact occurred on the blanket of material ejected from a much larger impact crater.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif manages MRO for NASA.
More Martian hearts images below from another Malin built camera aboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter
Happy Valentines Day from Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
This heart shaped pit on Mars is located on the east flank of the Alba Patera volcano in northern Tharsis. The pit was formed by collapse within a straight-walled trough known in geological terms as a graben. Graben are formed along fault lines by expansion of the bedrock terrain. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
10 Martian Hearts for Valentine’s Day.
Mesas and depressions from all across Mars. Images taken by Mars Global Surveyor from 2001 to 2004. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
Heart shaped landforms on Mars – or perhaps a box of chocolates !
Image taken by Mars Global Surveyor. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
By Ken Kremer
Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter