Crater Galle, the 'happy face' on Mars
Science & Exploration

'Happy face' crater on Mars

10/04/2006 8082 views 13 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Mars Express

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the Galle Crater, an impact crater located on the eastern rim of the Argyre Planitia impact basin on Mars.

Map showing Crater Galle in context
Map showing Crater Galle in context

The HRSC obtained these images during orbits 445, 2383, 2438, 2460 and 2493 with a ground resolution ranging between 10-20 metres per pixel, depending on location within the image strip.

The images show Crater Galle lying to the east of the Argyre Planitia impact basin and south west of the Wirtz and Helmholtz craters, at 51° South and 329° East.

Perspective view of Crater Galle, looking south-east
Perspective view of Crater Galle, looking south-east

The images of the 230 km diameter impact crater are mosaics created from five individual HRSC nadir and colour strips, each tens of kilometres wide.

A large stack of layered sediments forms an outcrop in the southern part of the crater. Several parallel gullies, possible evidence for liquid water on the Martian surface, originate at the inner crater walls of the southern rim.

False-colour mosaic of Crater Galle
False-colour mosaic of Crater Galle

Crater Galle, named after the German astronomer J.G. Galle (1812-1910), is informally known as the 'happy face' crater.

The 'face' was first pointed out in images taken during NASA's Viking Orbiter 1 mission.

Its interior shows a surface which is shaped by 'aeolian' (wind-caused) activity as seen in numerous dunes and dark dust devil tracks which removed the bright dusty surface coating.

Black and white mosaic of Crater Galle
Black and white mosaic of Crater Galle

The colour scenes, false-colour and near true-colour, have been derived from three HRSC colour and nadir channels gathered during five overlapping orbits. The perspective views have been calculated from a mosaic of digital terrain models derived from the stereo channels.

The black-and-white high-resolution image mosaic was derived from the nadir channel which provides the highest detail of all channels. The resolution has been decreased for use on the Internet, to around 50 m per pixel.

Close-up perspective view of Crater Galle, looking north
Close-up perspective view of Crater Galle, looking north
Close-up view of Crater Galle
Close-up view of Crater Galle
False-colour close-up mosaic of Crater Galle
False-colour close-up mosaic of Crater Galle

For more information on Mars Express HRSC images, please read our updated FAQ (frequently asked questions).

Related Links

Pavonis Mons
Science & Exploration

Lava tubes on Pavonis Mons

23/05/2006 5445 views 7 likes
Open item
Extensional tectonics in Tempe Terra
Science & Exploration

Extensional tectonics in Tempe Terra

08/05/2006 1200 views 1 likes
Open item
Nanedi Valles valley system on Mars
Science & Exploration

Nanedi Valles system on Mars

24/04/2006 3000 views 4 likes
Open item
Crater Galle, the 'happy face' on Mars
Science & Exploration

'Happy face' crater on Mars

10/04/2006 8082 views 13 likes
Open item
Libya Montes valley region on Mars
Science & Exploration

The Libya Montes valley on Mars

27/03/2006 2257 views 2 likes
Open item
Perspective view, looking north-west, from behind the 'hourglass' crater
Science & Exploration

'Hourglass'-shaped crater - new video and perspectives

17/03/2006 2226 views 3 likes
Open item
Perspective view of the eastern scarp of Olympus Mons, looking south-west
Science & Exploration

Eastern scarp of Olympus Mons

03/03/2006 4584 views 3 likes
Open item
Perspective view of the Ausonia Mensa massif
Science & Exploration

Ausonia Mensa remnant massif

24/02/2006 1552 views 0 likes
Open item
Perspective view of Phlegethon Catena
Science & Exploration

Pits and tectonic grabens in Phlegethon Catena

09/02/2006 2635 views 2 likes
Open item
The Claritas Fossae region of Mars
Science & Exploration

Claritas Fossae region of Mars

03/02/2006 580 views 0 likes
Open item
Colour view of Juventae Chasma
Science & Exploration

Sulphate deposits in Juventae Chasma

19/01/2006 1911 views 3 likes
Open item
Colour view of 'butterfly'-shaped crater at Hesperia Planum
Science & Exploration

‘Butterfly’ impact crater in Hesperia Planum

04/01/2006 2360 views 4 likes
Open item
Science & Exploration

Fly over the Chasma Boreale at Martian north pole

18/10/2005 3793 views 10 likes
Open item
Colour nadir view of Biblis Patera
Science & Exploration

The Biblis Patera volcano

07/09/2005 2629 views 5 likes
Open item
The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC)
Science & Exploration

Behind the lens...

13/02/2004 2178 views 3 likes
Open item