MOLA topographical map of Elysium Planitia (spacecraft landing sites are annotated in Commons)
Elysium Planitia, located in the Elysium and Aeolis quadrangles, is a broad plain that straddles the equator of Mars, centered at . It lies to the south of the volcanic province of Elysium, the second largest volcanic region on the planet, after Tharsis. Elysium contains the major volcanoes Elysium Mons, Albor Tholus and Hecates Tholus. Another more ancient shield volcano, Apollinaris Mons, is situated just to the south of eastern Elysium Planitia. Within the plains, Cerberus Fossae is the only Mars location with recent volcanic eruptions. Lava flows dated no older than 0.2 million years from the present have been found, and evidence has been found that volcanic activity may have occurred as recently as 53,000 years ago. Such activity could have provided the environment, in terms of energy and chemicals, needed to support life forms.
The largest craters in Elysium Planitia are Eddie, Lockyer, and Tombaugh. The planitia also has river valleys—one of which, Athabasca Valles may be one of the youngest on Mars. On the north east side is an elongated depression called Orcus Patera, and this and some of the eastern plains were imaged in the 1965 Mariner 4 flyby.
A 2005 photo of a locale in Elysium Planitia at 5°N, 150°E by the Mars Express spacecraft shows what may be ash-covered water ice. The volume of ice is estimated to be 800 km (500 mi) by 900 km (560 mi) in size and 45 m (148 ft) deep, similar in size and depth to the North Sea. The ice is thought to be the remains of water floods from the Cerberus Fossae fissures about 2 to 10 million years ago. The surface of the area is broken into 'plates' like broken ice floating on a lake (see below). Impact crater counts show that the plates are up to 1 million years older than the gap material, showing that the area solidified much too slowly for the material to be basaltic lava.
Elysium quadrangle MOLA map, with Elysium Planitia at bottom
Aeolis quadrangle MOLA map, with Elysium Planitia at top
NASA's InSight mission landed in Elysium Planitia on November 26, 2018. It took off from Earth on the 5th May 2018. The probe will study the internal structure of Mars and by so doing improve understanding of the planet's evolution. InSight Mars lander was able to take color pictures from the surface Elysium Planitia and sent them by radio signal back to Earth. During the descent sequence two additional items were jettisoned, the backshell with parachute, and heat shield, and they impacted in the vicinity of the lander.
In March 2017, scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that the landing site had been selected. It is located in western Elysium Planitia at . The landing site is about 600 km (370 mi) north from where the Curiosity rover is operating in Gale Crater.
Wide view of fractured ground, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program
Layers in old crater rim, in Marte Vallis as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program
Mounds with layers, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program. Location is east of Gale Crater in the Aeolis quadrangle.
Mound showing layers at the base, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program. Location is east of Gale Crater in the Aeolis quadrangle.
Yardangs showing layers, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program. Location is east of Gale Crater in the Aeolis quadrangle.
Mesas and eroded parts of mesas showing layers and dark slope streaks, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program. Image is located in eastern Avernus Colles.
Interactive Mars map
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- Fossa (geology)
- Geography of Mars
- Geology of Mars
- List of plains on Mars
- List of quadrangles on Mars
- "Elysium Planitia". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/1784.
- Horvath, David G.; Moitra, Pranabendu; Hamilton, Christopher W.; Craddock, Robert A.; Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C. (2020), Evidence for geologically recent explosive volcanism in Elysium Planitia, Mars
- O'Callaghan, Jonathan (20 November 2020). "Signs of Recent Volcanic Eruption on Mars Hint at Habitats for Life - Not thought to be volcanically active, Mars may have experienced an eruption just 53,000 years ago.". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/20/science/mars-volcano-eruption.html.
- Horvath, David G.; et al. (11 November 2020). "Evidence for geologically recent explosive volcanism in Elysium Planitia, Mars". arXiv:2011.05956 [astro-ph.EP].
- Williams, Dave; Friedlander, Jay. "The Orcus Patera region on Mars". NASA. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/html/object_page/m04_03b.html.
- Young, Kelly (2005-02-25). "'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars". New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7039.
- Murray, JB; Muller, JP; Neukum, G; Werner, SC; Van Gasselt, S; Hauber, E; Markiewicz, WJ; Head Jw, 3rd et al. (17 March 2007). "Evidence ... for a frozen sea close to Mars' equator". Nature 434 (7031): 352–355. doi:10.1038/nature03379. PMID 15772653. Bibcode: 2005Natur.434..352M.
- "Landing Status | Landing – NASA's InSight Mars Lander" (in en). https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/timeline/landing/status/.
- Golombek, M.; Kipp, D.; Daubar, I. J.; Kass, D.; Mischna, M.; Banerdt, W.B. (2017). "Selection of the 2018 Insight Landing Site". 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. 20–24 March 2017. The Woodlands, Texas.. LPI Contribution No. 1964, id.1515. Bibcode: 2017LPI....48.1515G.
- "InSight's Landing Site: Elysium Planitia". NASA. 25 January 2018. https://marsmobile.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/2018/insights-landing-site-elysium-planitia.
- Google Mars – zoomable map centered on Elysium Planitia, with three main volcanoes of Elysium visible
- Google Mars – Cerebrus Fossae fissures
- High resolution video by Seán Doran of overflight of an impact crater in Elysium Planitia with a lava vent (1.1° S, 159.7° E)
Original source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Elysium Planitia. Read more