Mars Express

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Animation: Nicholson Crater
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum).
20. December 2011

Der Nicholson%2dKrater

The animation shows a simulated flight over Nicholson Crater. The crater is around 100 kilometres in diameter and lies to the northwest of the Medusae Fossae region. In the centre of the crater is an elevated area around 55 kilometres long and 37 kilometres wide that towers around three and a half kilometres above its surroundings. To date, it is not clear what this structure inside the impact crater is and which geological processes have caused its formation. There is some controversy as to whether the material came from underground, meaning it is of volcanic origin, or whether it was transported and deposited there by the Martian atmosphere.

The crater was almost completely covered during HRSC orbit 1104. The best ground resolution by the nadir channel, the HRSC camera system channel directed vertically onto the surface of Mars, is 12.8 metres per pixel. The digital terrain model (DTM) has a resolution of 75 metres per pixel. The graphics were generated using the LightWave software.

The shown animation was generated at the Institute for Geological Sciences at the Freie Universität Berlin and published there as 'Highlights of the Month' in 2011. They present special Mars products obtained using the HRSC camera on board Mars Express.