Utopia Planitia

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Utopia Planitia
Mars Viking 21i093.png
PIA00571: Ice on Mars Utopia Planitia (NASA/JPL)
Location northeast of Isidis Planitia, northwest of Aetheria
Coordinates 49°42′N 118°00′E / 49.7°N 118.0°E / 49.7; 118.0Coordinates: 49°42′N 118°00′E / 49.7°N 118.0°E / 49.7; 118.0

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,[1] 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 49°42′N 118°00′E / 49.7°N 118.0°E / 49.7; 118.0. 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.[2][3] A hard surface crust is formed by solutions of minerals moving up through soil and evaporating at the surface.[4] 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.[5]

References in popular culture[edit]

In the Star Trek media franchise, Utopia Planitia – both on Mars's surface and in areosynchronous orbit above it – is the site of a major Federation shipyard.[6] The USS Enterprise-D, USS Defiant, USS Sao Paulo, USS Voyager, and USS Enterprise-F were built there.[6]

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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGill, G. E. (1989), Buried Topography of Utopia, Mars: Persistence of a Giant Impact Depression, J. Geophys. Res., 94(B3), 2753–2759.
  2. ^ Mutch, T. et al. 1976. The Surface of Mars: The View from the Viking 2 Lander. Science: 194. 1277–1283.
  3. ^ Hartmann, W. 2003. A Traveler's Guide to Mars. Workman Publishing. NY NY.
  4. ^ Arvidson, R. A. Binder, and K. Jones. 1976. The Surface of Mars. Scientific American: 238. 76–89.
  5. ^ Sejourne, A. et al. 2012. Evidence of an eolian ice-rich and stratified permafrost in Utopia Planitia, Mars. Icarus. 60:248-254.
  6. ^ a b Okuda, Michael; Denise Okuda and Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5. 

External links[edit]