The US space agency NASA has once again released stunning image of Martian surface. This time scientists at NASA have unveiled a beautiful image of the Nili Fossae region of Mars.
Nili Fossae is among one of the most colorful regions on the red planet. The region is located on the northwest rim of Isidis impact basin, say scientists. NASA researchers explained that variation in colors on the martian surface is due to dust and regolith. At Nili Fossae
NASA researchers explained that variation in colors on the martian surface is due to dust and regolith. At Nili Fossae, the bedrock is well exposed almost all over the region except where there are sand dunes. In addition, the diverse composition of rocks also adds color to the region.
Nili Fossae region is very ancient which explains about the layered bedrocks and complicated geologic history.
NASA explains, “Nili Fossae Trough is a huge crack in the surface of Mars. The linear trough is about 25 kilometers (16 miles) wide. It formed when a huge meteor slammed into the surface and created the Isidis Basin to the east, one of the four largest impact basins on Mars. The impact caused the Martian surface to deform. The region has one of the largest, most diverse exposures of clay minerals. Clay minerals contain water in their mineral structure and may preserve organic materials. Scientists are excited about studying such deposits to understand past environments that could have supported life. The Mars Science Laboratory rover would land in the center of the trough, amid rocks that splattered outward when the crater formed. Volcanic rocks are also abundant, left behind by cooling lava that filled the trough. Over its mission, the rover would drive westward to a side canyon in the wall of the trough. There, spacecraft have detected a diversity of minerals in the ancient crust.”
Vibrant colors in the region are due to the presence of several minerals including carbonate minerals, aluminum smectite, iron/magnesium smectites, hydrated silica, kaolinite group minerals, and iron oxides.
The stunning image was captured on February 5, 2016, at 14:54 local Mars time. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera installed on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was used to click the breathtaking image.