Click for full resolution image.
Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on November 1, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows a series of strange glacial-like flows coming off the western slopes of the central peak of a 40-mile-wide unnamed crater, located smack dab in what I call Mars’ glacier country, that 2,000 long mid-latitude strip where almost every image shows evidence of glaciers.
The cropped section to the right doesn’t really do these strange flows justice. Make sure you click on the image to see the full resolution version. There are numerous separate flows coming off that central peak. Each appears to show that as time passed, each flow traveled a shorter distance down the mountain, leaving a moraine behind at higher and higher points.
The overview map below provides the context.
The small red rectangle inside the large crater within the Protonilus Mensae glacial region marks the location of today’s cool image. It is essentially located dead center within the 2,000-mile-long glacier country strip.
One last tidbit of information about this photo. Labeled merely as a “terrain sample”, such images are generally scheduled by the MRO science team not as part of any specific research project, but because they must maintain a regular cadence of picture-taking in order to properly sustain the camera’s temperature. When they have a gap, they pick something almost at random that might show some interesting geology. Often the images are boring. Sometimes however they are surprisingly spectacular, such as today’s cool image.
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