Martian Highlands at Night in Infrared
This nighttime temperature image from the camera system on NASA's
Mars Odyssey spacecraft shows the ancient, heavily cratered surface of
the highlands between Isidis and Elysium Planitia. The image is entered
near 9 degrees north latitude, 109 degrees east longitude, and covers an
area approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) wide by 120 kilometers
(75 miles) long. The bright "splashes" extending outward
from the three large craters are the remnants of the rocky material
thrown out when the impact occurred. The nighttime temperature
differences are due primarily to differences in the abundance of rocky
materials that retain their heat at night and stay relatively warm. Fine
grained dust and sand cool off more rapidly at night. The circular rims of
the craters in this region are warm at night, showing that rocks are still
present on the steep walls inside the craters. The "splash"
ejecta patterns are also warmer than their surroundings, and are covered
by material that was blasted out when the craters formed. The
temperatures in this scene vary from approximately -105 degrees Celsius
(-157 degrees Fahrenheit) (darkest) to -75 degrees Celsius (-103 degrees
Fahrenheit) (lightest). This image was acquired using the instrument's
infrared Band 9, centered at 12.6 micrometers. North is toward the left
in this image.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for
NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C. Investigators at
Arizona State University in Tempe, the University of Arizona in Tucson
and NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, operate the science
instruments. Additional science partners are located at the Russian
Aviation and Space Agency and at Los Alamos National Laboratories, New
Mexico. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for
the project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are
conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University.