Mars Photo of the Day - Apr 3 2012

Today's Image of Mars shows a potential landing site in Holden Crater for the 2018 joint ExoMars rover, as taken by HiRISE. Holden Crater is 140km in diameter and numerous clays and sediments that could only have formed in the presence of water.

Holden Crater was one of the top four candidate landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory, which is landing in August 2012. The crater holds some of the best exposed lake deposits yet discovered on Mars, which makes it a prime landing site for any and all future missions to Mars that hope to determine whether Mars once did, or still does support life.

NASA recently backed out of the ExoMars mission due to budgetary cuts, which forced the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to take a much larger role in the mission. The joint ESA-Roscosmos mission appears to be going ahead on schedule with an orbiter expected to launch in 2016 and the rover expected to launch in 2018, but at this point anything could happen.

It remains to be determined where on Mars the ExoMars rover will be sent, but we can be sure that Holden Crater is among the top candidates! Clicking on this image will take you to all Mars Travel posts related to Holden Crater because the original HiRISE image is not yet captioned.



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