Holden (Martian crater)

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This article is about the crater on Mars. For its namesake on the Moon, see Holden (lunar crater). For other things and people named Holden, see Holden (disambiguation).
Martian impact crater Holden based on day THEMIS.png
Crater Holden based on THEMIS day-time image
Planet Mars
Coordinates 26°24′S 34°00′W / 26.4°S 34.0°W / -26.4; -34.0Coordinates: 26°24′S 34°00′W / 26.4°S 34.0°W / -26.4; -34.0
Diameter 153.8
Eponym Edward S. Holden

Holden is a 140 km wide crater situated within the Margaritifer Sinus quadrangle (MC-19) region of the planet Mars, located with the southern highlands. It is named after Edward Singleton Holden, an American astronomer, and the founder of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.[1]

Like Gusev, it is notable for an outlet channel, Uzboi Vallis, that runs into it, and for many features that seem to have been created by flowing water.

The crater's rim is cut with gullies, and at the end of some gullies are fan-shaped deposits of material transported by water.[2] The crater is of great interest to scientists because it has some of the best-exposed lake deposits. One of the layers has been found by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to contain clays.[3][4] Clays only form in the presence of water. It is believed that great amount of water went through this area; one flow was caused by a body of water larger than Earth's Lake Huron.[5] Holden is an old crater, containing numerous smaller craters, many of which are filled with sediment. The crater's central mountain is also obscured by sediment. Holden Crater was a proposed landing site for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, until Gale Crater was deemed a better landing site. Just to the north east of Holden Crater is Eberswalde Crater which contains a large delta.

Mars Science Laboratory[edit]

Several sites in the Margaritifer Sinus quadrangle have been proposed as areas to send NASA's next major Mars rover, the Mars Science Lab. Holden Crater made the cut to be among the top four. Holden Crater is believed to have once been a lake.

The aim of the Mars Science Laboratory is to search for signs of ancient life. It is hoped that a later mission could then return samples from sites identified as probably containing remains of life. To safely bring the craft down, a 12 mile wide, smooth, flat circle is needed. Geologists hope to examine places where water once ponded.[6] They would like to examine sediment layers.

Breccia in the crater Holden, taken by HiRISE


See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.google.com/mars/
  2. ^ Moore, J. A. Howard. 2005. Large alluvial fans on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: 110, E04005.
  3. ^ Murchie, S. et al. 2009. A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Journal of Geophysical Research: 114.
  4. ^ Grotzinger, J. and R. Milliken (eds.) 2012. Sedimentary Geology of Mars. SEPM
  5. ^ http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_003077_1530
  6. ^ http://themis.asu.edu/features/ianichaos

External links[edit]