Weird Martian geology: Kaiser Crater

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Kaiser Crater bedrock

Cool image time! This week JPL’s image site highlighted a picture taken by Mars Odyssey of the floor and dunes inside Kaiser Crater, located to the west of Helles basin in an area dubbed the Noachis Region.

To my eye, the Mars Odyssey picture was interesting, but not worth a post here on Behind the Black. However, I decided to take a look at what HiRise, the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), had taken of the same area, just out of curiosity. A search at the master HiRise image site at the same latitude and longitude (-45 latitude, 180 longitude) showed that HiRise had imaged a part of the same area, but at much higher resolution.

When I zoomed in on this hi resolution image I came across some interesting and weird geology, cropped to show here on the right. Now this, I thought, is worth posting. Notice how the dark tracks, caused by dust devils, leave no tracks as they cut across the brighter areas. Obviously, these bright areas have no dust or sand, and are likely solid bedrock of some kind. The depressions might be craters, but they also might not. The raised area around the depressions might have been caused by the impact, or it might have been caused by some internal geological process that caused the depression while also raising the surrounding bulge. Since then the wind has been steadily depositing sand in the depressions, causing it to get trapped there.



  • ken anthony

    Can we still call it geology? That is a cool image. Part of the advantage of mars is it will have concentrated ores in various locations.

    Once visiting CA I mentioned I was impressed by the architecture of the building I was in out loud and a little girl near me exclaimed, “It’s the people!”

    She was exactly right. It’s time we got people to mars.

  • Orion314

    Thanks for posting that Bob , A very cool image!
    When i was a kid in the 60’s , I loved astronomy/cosmology , as it was a known / solid/ trustworthy mother of science.
    I built a pretty nice library of astronomy books over the years, better than many public libraries I’ve seen around this USA.
    All with pretty much the same general facts & figures..Nowadays , about the only thing you can count on in terms of accuracy is orbital periods. Astronomy / Cosmology haven’t been turned upside down, rather ,it seems we were never in the ballpark in the 1st place. REDSHIFT for distance measurement? Long ago Halton Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies put a monkey wrench in that. Add to that DME {dark matter/energy] , which is nothing more than a euphemism for “What the hell is GRAVITY?” Unless we really become a space faring civilization, we will never really know anything about our favorite topic.

  • Orion314

    BTW , for you sim-gamers out there , there is a really cool game due out this Spring 2018 called “Surviving Mars” by Paradox.It’s a first colony on Mars Base builder. Lots of vids on youtube. EXTREMELY DETAILED!!! I am confident i can build a better base than NASA! Just wait until you see this , on a 4k TV via Xbox one , it is beautiful! Cant wait, Wish I worked for them :) if you view these vids , ignore the laughing lunatic women on the podcasts. They are on the vid because of affirmative action/PC. The game is solo guy game, I cant imagine a USA woman ever playing hope is for a game like this , only on the Moon…

  • ken anthony

    Checking out “Surviving Mars” by Paradox on youtube and two things glaringly stood out to me. But first, how did those kids ever get jobs anywhere? Very annoying and not the kind of people I’d want to share mars with. Otherwise it looks interesting. Glaring problem #1, economics is the usual hand waving. No provision seems to exist for mars contributing to its own funding. #2 the tech ladder is the usual game mechanics which is almost totally unrealistic. To be realistic it would need to understand that the tech ladder is an abstraction of individual skills. Instead of a tech ladder, they should have used an industrial ecology which explores the decision of importing machines from earth vs. building them on mars.

    Other issues include managing consumables and parts. Summary: it has potential as a jumping off point but should not be confused with any sort of realism.

    The good news is it may get people to realize the need for over supply in getting a colony going.

    It needs a more realistic model of money, chemistry, energy and industry (skills, products and enabling hierarchies… the industrial ecology which is key to the colony future but represented in the usual flawed way in this game.) This one flaw will be the death of colonists in real life.

    It will not be fixed by planning. It will be fixed by individual initiative. …if at all.

  • Edward

    ken anthony,
    Good observations. I, too, checked out “Surviving Mars” on youtube, and thought it was typical of the kinds of games that I like — building something from scratch where early decisions affect later outcomes and decisions. “Sim City” was this type.

    Some of these games have various levels of difficulty, from a “sandbox” mode to a full economic or physics mode. Sometimes the fun is in fooling around without regard to any reality, and sometimes the fun is in trying to make a profit or working system despite the economic, terrain, and physical challenges.

    With luck, “Surviving Mars” will have these kinds of difficulty or reality levels. It would be interesting to find a way to make a Martian colony (or lunar colony) profitable. After all, we are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to send rovers that take a dozen years to explore a few dozen kilometers of Mars; people could explore that much territory much better in much less time. The science alone could be worth a lot of money.

  • ken anthony

    I was just rereading Zubrin where he pointed out places in the world that turned into high profit hot spots yet were ignored for hundreds! of years. Better tech didn’t make those places profitable. Going created the tech.

    Mars will profit in spite of bad decisions. It just needs people looking after their own selfish interests. The naysayers will then jump to the head of the parade to claim they were there the whole time.

  • Orion314

    As always , interesting thoughts Gentlemen….
    As a base builder sim fan, i’ve played PlanetBase for years , always holding my breath for PB2
    FINALLY something as beautiful as “SM” arrives. Beyond the visuals , what has stoked my interest is Human Dynamics. Something I’ve never played , although the SimPeople whatever games have been around for ever , like Horoscopes,
    never had the slightest interest , until now. Like Bob Zubrin talked about long ago for his choice of 1st team to land on Mars? 2 Spocks, 2 Scotties. Myself?
    Site Alpha : Star Fleet Acadamy , JTK / DJT …you get the idea
    Site Omega, HRC , yada , you can pick socialistsm drunks,HRC, party people.thugs , HRC, etc. You get the idea Red VS Blue, if you like. Fun for the whole family :)

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