Science and Exploration

Ice-coated Regions Inside Argyre Impact Basin on Mars

By Keith Cowing
October 5, 2012
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Ice-coated Regions Inside Argyre Impact Basin on Mars
Argyre Impact Basin

On 8 June, the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express captured a region within the 1800 km-wide and 5 km-deep Argyre basin, which was created by a gigantic impact in the planet’s early history. After Hellas, the Argyre impact basin is the second largest on the Red Planet.
The name stems from the Greek word ‘argyros’ (silver) and Argyre was an ‘island of silver’ in Greek and Roman mythology. Giovanni Schiaparelli, the famed Italian astronomer, gave the name to this bright region on Mars in his detailed 1877 map.

At the centre of the larger impact basin is a flat region known as Argyre Planitia. The Mars Express images in this release all show a portion of the northern part of this plain, with a large portion of each image dominated by the western half of the 138 km-wide Hooke Crater, named after the British physicist and astronomer Robert Hooke.

Most of Argyre Planitia has been shaped by wind, glacial and lacustrine (lake-based) processes, creating the smoother appearance of the landscape surrounding Hooke Crater. Inside Hooke Crater itself, prevailing wind activity has formed dunes and helped to create linear erosion features, clearly seen in the following topographic image.

More images

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