Google+ Mars Travel: Mars Photo of the Day - 15 Sep 2012

Mars Photo of the Day - 15 Sep 2012

Today's Image of Mars shows Hadley Crater, just west of Al-Qahira Vallis. In this image from Mars Express you can see that the southern (left) side of the crater is much shallower than the north side. This is due mass wasting, an erosion process by which material slides down a slope under the force of gravity.

Click to see the original high resolution image from Mars Express [See ESA article]

Mass wasting can be started by the presence of water, an earthquake, erosion at the slope base, or ice splitting rocks on the surface. In this instance we cannot be certain what caused the mass wasting evident in this crater, or the period of time over which the process occurred, but by examining the smaller impact craters within Hadley crater, we will get a better idea of the past conditions in the crater. Why is this the case?

Generally the deeper the material the older it is. The impact that created Hadley Crater dredged up material from deep below the surface.  Following the impact of Hadley Crater, numerous other meteorites struck the same area, dredging up even deeper material. We can determine what conditions on Mars had to be present in order to create the ejected material. Scientists can determine how old the material is and combine that with their conclusions about the environment it was created in to determine when Mars had those conditions.

Rock Age + Environment Required for Specific Rock Formation = Environment on Mars During Time of Rock Formation


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