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Argyre impact basin as seen from Mars orbit; terrestrial planet; telluric planet; rocky planet - Space Art Illustration

Argyre impact basin

About 4 billion years ago an asteroid or comet collided with Mars creating what is known today as the Argyre impact basin in the southern highlands. A thousand miles across, Argyre is the second-largest impact basin on Mars after Hellas Planitia. The impacting object that created the basin is believed to have been about 30 miles in diameter. Within the basin are the relatively flat plains of Argyre Planitia.

The perspective in this rendering is from a position about 25 from Mars' south pole and 150 miles above the surface looking north. In the foreground is an impact-related arc of mountains known as the Charitum Montes, and on the upper right near the horizon is a partial view of Galle Crater, one of the "happy face" craters identified by the Viking Mars orbiters in the 1970s.


What's in a name?

Argyre was a mythical island of silver in Greek and Roman mythology.

Planita refers to a low plain or broad level lowlands without features.

Charitum Montes is Latin for "Mountains of the Graces" (I think).

In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli published the first detailed map of Mars based upon long hours at one of the most powerful telescopes of the time.  He named the broad martian features he observed using Latin and Mediterranean place names taken from ancient history, mythology, and the Bible.

This rendering is based upon elevation data from NASA's Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter.

Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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