Russell (Martian crater)

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Russell Crater
Russell Crater Dunes, Defrosted.jpg
The Russell Crater dune field is covered seasonally by carbon dioxide frost. Numerous dark dust devil tracks can be seen meandering across the dunes.
Planet Mars
Coordinates 54°54′S 347°36′W / 54.9°S 347.6°W / -54.9; -347.6Coordinates: 54°54′S 347°36′W / 54.9°S 347.6°W / -54.9; -347.6
Eponym Henry Norris Russell, an American astronomer (1877-1957)

Russell Crater is a crater found in the Noachis quadrangle of Mars located at 54.9° south latitude and 347.6° west longitude. It is about 139.7 km in diameter and was named after Henry Norris Russell, an American astronomer (1877-1957). [1]

Why are Craters important?[edit]

The density of impact craters is used to determine the surface ages of Mars and other solar system bodies. [2] The older the surface, the more craters present. Crater shapes can reveal the presence of ground ice.

The area around craters may be rich in minerals. On Mars, heat from the impact melts ice in the ground. Water from the melting ice dissolves minerals, and then deposits them in cracks or faults that were produced with the impact. This process, called hydrothermal alteration, is a major way in which ore deposits are produced. The area around Martian craters may be rich in useful ores for the future colonization of Mars. [3]


Dust devil tracks[edit]

Many areas on Mars experience the passage of giant dust devils. A thin coating of fine bright dust covers most of the Martian surface. When a dust devil goes by it blows away the coating and exposes the underlying dark surface. Dust devils have been seen from the ground and high overhead from orbit. They have even blown the dust off of the solar panels of the two Rovers on Mars, thereby greatly extending their lives.[4] The twin Rovers were designed to last for 3 months; instead they have lasted more than five years and are still going. The pattern of the tracks have been shown to change every few months.[5] The image below of Russell Crater shows changes in dust devil tracks over a period of only three months, as documented by HiRISE.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

VEDIE et al., 2008 : Laboratory simulations of Martian gullies on the Russell crater sand dunes