The ESA’s Mars Rover Gets a New Map

European scientists have created an extremely detailed geological map of Oxia Planum, the landing site for the ESA's Rosalind Franklin rover. Not only will it help guide the rover's driving, it will help the rover sample the most promising sites. Image Credit: Fawdon et al. 2024.

Rosalind Franklin, the ESA’s Mars rover, is scheduled to launch no sooner than 2028. Its destination is Oxia Planum, a wide clay-bearing plain to the east of Chryse Planitia. Oxia Planum contains terrains that date back to Mars’ Noachian Period, when there may have been abundant surface water, a key factor in the rover’s mission.

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From Mars with Love on Valentines Day

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


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