Utopia Planitia

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Utopia Planitia
Mars Viking 21i093.png
PIA00571: Ice on Mars Utopia Planitia (NASA/JPL)
Location Northeast of Isidis Planitia, northwest of Aetheria
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Utopia Planitia (Latin: "Nowhere Plain") is the largest recognized impact basin on Mars and in the Solar System with an estimated diameter of 3300 km,[1] and is the Martian region where the Viking 2 lander touched down and began exploring on September 3, 1976. It is located at the antipode of Argyre Planitia, centered at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found..[2] It is in the Casius quadrangle, Amenthes quadrangle, and the Cebrenia quadrangle of Mars.

Many rocks at Utopia Planitia appear perched, as if wind removed much of the soil at their bases.[3][4] A hard surface crust is formed by solutions of minerals moving up through soil and evaporating at the surface.[5] Some areas of the surface exhibit what is called "scalloped topography", a surface that seems to have been carved out by an ice cream scoop. This surface is thought to have formed by the degradation of an ice-rich permafrost.[6]

In popular culture

In the Star Trek media franchise, Utopia Planitia—both on Mars's surface and in areosynchronous orbit above it—is the site of a major Federation shipyard.[7] The USS Enterprise-D, USS Defiant, USS Sao Paulo, USS Voyager, and USS Enterprise-F were built there.[7]

The Flaming Lips song "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)" was released in 2002 on the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

Pedestal craters

Other features in Utopia Planitia

See also


  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. "Utopia Planitia". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2015-03-10. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mutch, T. et al. 1976. The Surface of Mars: The View from the Viking 2 Lander. Science: 194. 1277–1283.
  4. Hartmann, W. 2003. A Traveler's Guide to Mars. Workman Publishing. NY NY.
  5. Arvidson, R. A. Binder, and K. Jones. 1976. The Surface of Mars. Scientific American: 238. 76–89.
  6. Sejourne, A. et al. 2012. Evidence of an eolian ice-rich and stratified permafrost in Utopia Planitia, Mars. Icarus. 60:248-254.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Okuda, Michael; Denise Okuda & Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Dundas, C., S. Bryrne, A. McEwen. 2015. Modeling the development of martian sublimation thermokarst landforms. Icarus: 262, 154-169.

External links