The hilly landscape visible in this observation may appear at first rather bleak, due to the pervasive soils of uniform brightness blanketing most of the area. However, upon closer examination, the image reveals rocky outcrops at the top of some of the hills. These rocks contain clues pointing to a watery past.
CRISM , another of the instruments onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , has acquired data over this same region showing that the rocky outcrops contain clays. Clays of similar composition form in terrestrial environments favorable for life, where volcanic rocks are in close contact with water.
Written by: Sara Martinez-Alonso (15 October 2008)
This is a stereo pair with PSP_009985_2205 .
More info and image formats at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_009708_2205
Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona