One of NASA's satellites orbiting Mars captured a stunning view of a Martian crater that serves as more than just a spectacle.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is equipped with a giant camera called the High-Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) that is capable of photographing the surface of Mars in fantastic detail. The above image was snapped by HiRISE on 27 October 2021 and of the crater called Airy-0 (zero). While the image is certainly a spectacle, it also showcases the exact point of zero longitude on Mars.
Notably, the larger crater that the Airy-0 (zero) sits within, dubbed the Airy Crater, originally defined the zero longitude point on Mars, but as higher resolution imaging became available to researchers, the Airy-0 (zero) was selected as a smaller point was required. The University of Arizona writes that "everything is still defined to keep zero longitude centered on this crater", and that longitude can also be measured "using radio tracking of landers such as InSight".
"The High Resolution Imaging Experiment is known as HIRISE. The big and powerful HIRISE camera takes pictures that cover vast areas of Martian terrain while being able to see features as small as a kitchen table," per NASA.
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