PIA11704: Pits and Channels of Hebrus Valles
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Instrument: HiRISE
Product Size: 4500 x 3000 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other Information: Other products from ESP_048036_2025
Full-Res TIFF: PIA11704.tif (13.52 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA11704.jpg (2.535 MB)

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The drainages in this image are part of Hebrus Valles, an outflow channel system likely formed by catastrophic floods.

Hebrus Valles is located in the plains of the Northern lowlands, just west of the Elysium volcanic region. Individual channels range from several hundred meters to several kilometers wide and form multi-threaded (anastamosing) patterns. Separating the channels are streamlined forms, whose tails point downstream and indicate that channel flow is to the north. The channels seemingly terminate in an elongated pit that is approximately 1875 meters long and 1125 meters wide. Using the shadow that the wall has cast on the floor of the pit, we can estimate that the pit is nearly 500 meters deep.

The pit, which formed after the channels, exposes a bouldery layer below the dusty surface mantle and is underlain by sediments. Boulders several meters in diameter litter the slopes down into the pit. Pits such as these are of interest as possible candidate landing sites for human exploration because they might retain subsurface water ice (Schulze-Makuch et al. 2016, 6th Mars Polar Conf.) that could be utilized by future long-term human settlements.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Image Addition Date:
2017-01-26