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Utopia Planitia


Utopia Planitia

Utopia Planitia
PIA00571: Ice on Mars Utopia Planitia (NASA/JPL)
Location Northeast of Isidis Planitia, northwest of Aetheria

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 .[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 1
  • Pedestal craters 2
  • Other features in Utopia Planitia 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 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. ^ McGill, G. E. (1989-03-10). "Buried topography of Utopia, Mars: Persistence of a giant impact depression". Journal of Geophysical Research 94: 2753–2759.  
  2. ^ "Utopia Planitia". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.  
  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. ^ a b  
  8. ^ Dundas, C., S. Bryrne, A. McEwen. 2015. Modeling the development of martian sublimation thermokarst landforms. Icarus: 262, 154-169.

External links

  • Laser altimetry of the north pole of Mars Utopia Planitia located in upper right
  • Google Mars scrollable map – centered on Utopia Planitia
  • VL2 Site: Utopia Planitia (NASA)
  • PIA00576: Martian Sunrise at Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
  • PIA00530: Frost on Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
  • PIA03796: Utopia Planitia (NASA Photojournal)
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