Today's Image of Mars shows the floor of Toro Crater, a 42km diameter crater in Syrtis Major, which exhibits phenomenal colors due to the different minerals within the crater.
The north-south oriented features are dunes crafted by the wind; they are much younger than the bedrock on which they lie. Scientists can determine the direction and strength of the wind in the crater by analyzing dune orientation and size.
Scientists speculate that Toro Crater experienced hydrothermal alteration, which is caused by the interaction of materials with water and heat. The blue and green colors are unaltered minerals like pyroxene and olivine, whereas the warmer colors are indicative of alteration in clays and other materials.
Toro Crater is of great interest to scientists because hydrothermal interactions are indicative of an environment hospitable to life. Because of this we may find that Toro Crater becomes the destination for a future mission to Mars!
Clicking on this image will take you to the original subimage from HiRISE. [See their captioned image]
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