PIA00571: Ice on Mars Utopia Planitia (NASA/JPL)
|Location||northeast of Isidis Planitia, northwest of Aetheria|
Utopia Planitia (Latin: "Nowhere Plain") is the largest recognized impact basin on Mars and in the solar system with an estimated diameter of 3300 km, and is the Martian region where the Viking 2 lander touched down and began exploring on September 3, 1976. It is located at the antipode of Argyre Planitia, centered at . It is in the Casius quadrangle and the Cebrenia quadrangle of Mars.
Many rocks at Utopia Planitia appear perched, as if wind removed much of the soil at their bases. A hard surface crust is formed by solutions of minerals moving up through soil and evaporating at the surface. Some areas of the surface exhibit what is called "scalloped topography," a surface that seems to have been carved out by an ice cream scoop. This surface is thought to have formed by the degradation of an ice-rich permafrost.
References in popular culture 
In the Star Trek media franchise, Utopia Planitia – both on Mars' surface and in areosynchronous orbit above it – is the site of a major Federation shipyard. The USS Enterprise-D, USS Defiant, USS Sao Paulo, USS Voyager, and USS Enterprise-F were built there.
The Flaming Lips song "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)" was released in 2002 on the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
See also 
- McGill, G. E. (1989), Buried Topography of Utopia, Mars: Persistence of a Giant Impact Depression, J. Geophys. Res., 94(B3), 2753–2759.
- Mutch, T. et al. 1976. The Surface of Mars: The View from the Viking 2 Lander. Science: 194. 1277–1283.
- Hartmann, W. 2003. A Traveler's Guide to Mars. Workman Publishing. NY NY.
- Arvidson, R. A. Binder, and K. Jones. 1976. The Surface of Mars. Scientific American: 238. 76–89.
- Sejourne, A. et al. 2012. Evidence of an eolian ice-rich and stratified permafrost in Utopia Planitia, Mars. Icarus. 60:248-254.
- Okuda, Michael; Denise Okuda and Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.
- Laser altimetry of the north pole of Mars Utopia Planitia located in upper right
- Google Mars scrollable map – centered on Utopia Planitia
- VL2 Site: Utopia Planitia (NASA)
- PIA00576: Martian Sunrise at Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
- PIA00530: Frost on Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
- PIA03796: Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
- Utopia Planitia at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)