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Space shuttle image of Chicxulub crater



***Excerpted*** from a post to usenet-space-news@arc.nasa.gov:

Sevral new images from the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) experiment that flew on
the space shuttle Endeavour in April 1994 have been released.

The images include:

     P-44423:  The site of an impact crater at Chicxulub on the
     Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico thought to be caused by an
     asteroid or comet 65 million years ago that killed off the
     dinosaurs;

World Wide Web/Mosaic:

     http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

     From the JPL home page, select "News flash" and then
     the item for new SIR-C/X-SAR images.  The images displayed
     on the menu pages are a lower-resolution browse version.
    You may also click on an item to transfer full-resolution
     (up to 6.6-megabyte) versions.

Anonymous file transfer protocol (ftp):

     jplinfo.jpl.nasa.gov

     Browse versions are in the `news' directory as filenames
     SC-*.GIF.  Full-resolution versions are in the `sircxsar/images'
     directory as P*.JPG (under their file numbers).


Dialup modem:

     +1 (818) 354-1333

     Browse versions are in the `news' directory as filenames
     SC-*.GIF.  Full-resolution versions are in the `sircxsar'
     directory as P*.JPG (under their file numbers).


Hardcopy prints:

     Prints may be ordered using the P- file number from the vendor:

     Newell Color Lab
     221 N. Westmoreland Avenue
     Los Angeles, CA 90064
     USA

___________________________________________________________
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

PHOTO CAPTION                                  July 28, 1994

                                                     P-44423                    
                               Chicxulub

This is a radar image of the southwest portion of  the buried
Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.  The radar
image was acquired on orbit 81 of space shuttle Endeavour on April 14,
1994 by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar
(SIR-C/X-SAR).  The image is centered at 20 degrees north latitude
and 90 degrees west longitude.  Scientists believe the crater was
formed by an asteroid or comet which slammed into the Earth more than
65 million years ago.   It is this impact crater that has been linked
to a major biological catastrophe where more than  50 percent of the
Earth's species, including the dinosaurs, became extinct.  The 180- to
300-kilometer-diameter (110- to 180-mile) crater is buried by 300 to
1,000 meters (1,000 to 3,000 feet) of limestone.  The exact size of
the crater is currently being debated by scientists.  This is a total
power radar image with L-band in red, C-band in green, and the
difference between C- and L-band in blue.  The 10-kilometer-wide (6-
mile) band of yellow and pink with blue patches along the top left
(northwestern side) of the image is a mangrove swamp.  The blue
patches are islands of tropical forests created by freshwater springs
that emerge through fractures in the limestone bedrock and are most
abundant in the vicinity of the buried crater rim.  The fracture
patterns and wetland hydrology in this region are controlled by the
structure of the buried crater.  Scientists are using the SIR-C/X-SAR
imagery to study wetland ecology and help determine the exact size of
the impact crater.

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