PIA21454: A Dragonfly-Shaped Crater
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
Instrument: HiRISE
Product Size: 2880 x 1800 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: University of Arizona/HiRISE-LPL
Other Information: Other products from ESP_048462_1585
Full-Res TIFF: PIA21454.tif (4.23 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA21454.jpg (565.9 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

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Map Projected Browse Image
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The broader scene for this image is the fluidized ejecta from Bakhuysen Crater to the southwest, but there's something very interesting going on here on a much smaller scale.

A small impact crater, about 25 meters in diameter, with a gouged-out trench extends to the south. The ejecta (rocky material ejected from the crater) mostly extends to the east and west of the crater. This "butterfly" ejecta is very common for craters formed at low impact angles. Taken together, these observations suggest that the crater-forming impactor came in at a low angle from the north, hit the ground and ejected material to the sides.

The top of the impactor may have sheared off ("decapitating" the impactor) and continued downrange, forming the trench. We can't prove that's what happened, but this explanation is consistent with the observations. Regardless of how it formed, it's quite an interesting-looking "dragonfly" crater.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_048528_1585.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.69 inches) per pixel. [The original image scale is 55.7 centimeters (21.92 inches) per pixel (with 2 x 2 binning); objects on the order of 167 centimeters (65.7 inches) across are resolved.] North is up.

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:
2017-02-10