Yesterday we introduced the landing site selection process for the Mars Science Laboratory rover and the 4 possible landing sites that had to compete with the Gale Crater as winner of that competition. If you want to read up on the material surrounding the discussion and presentations in the landing sites workshops you can find a wealth of material here
Today we hightlight the second possible landing site of MSL, just to the south of Eberswalde Crater, Holden Crater.
Holden is a 140 km wide crater on Mars, located in the southern highlands of Mars. It is named after Edward Singleton Holden, an American astronomer, and the founder of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Francisco on February 7, 1889.
Holden is an old crater, 3.7 billion years old, 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.
Holden Crater has Uzboi Vallis running into it, just like the Gusev Crater has the Ma’adim Vallis running into it. Holden Crater shows 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. Scientists believe that the lake that Holden Crater was for a long time has many lake deposit. The layers of those deposits contain clays. And clays only form because of the presence of water. Scientists think that great amounts of water went through this area.
The render that you can view here on the left is one of many by Kees Veenenbos.