NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona – Captured on the 5th of February by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera installed on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Nili Fossae is one of the most colourful regions on the Martian Surface. NASA has reasons to believe that it is an ancient part of the surface with a complicated geological history.
Located on the Northwest rim of the isidis impact basin, scientists believe that dust and regolith are primarily responsible for color variations at the Red Planet’s surface. Also, Nili Fossae bedrock is also exposed and the diverse composition of these rocks adds peculiar colors to the overall region.
Created by one of the most serious meteor impact, NASA claims that Nili Fossae trough is approx. 25 kilometres wide. The same impact also resulted in creating Isidis basin which is apparently one of largest impact basin on the surface. Further, this impact altered the surface of the planet. And this particular region has diverse reserves of clay mineral and as clay minerals store water in their mineral structure, they tend to preserve organic materials as well.
Scientists are curious to study these mineral structures which will indicate facts about past life (if any) on Mars. The mars science laboratory rover would probably land amidst the trough in-between rocks. The volcanic rocks are in abundance here as they have been left behind by the cooling Lava.
Several minerals like carbonate minerals, aluminium & iron smectites along with iron oxides and kaolinite group minerals have transformed the area and are primarily responsible for such vibrant color schemes on the surface.
The image is unequivocally breath-taking and was apparently taken at 14:54 local Mars time.