NASA Image Reveals Cluster Of Fresh Impact Craters On Mars

Posted: Feb 11 2017, 3:16pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 11 2017, 3:20pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA Image Reveals Cluster of Fresh Impact Craters on Mars
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The recent impact craters found on Tharsis region occured between 2008 and 2014

Mars is heavily bombarded by meteorites throughout its history and these meteorites often ended up creating crates on the planet’s surface.

Most of the impact craters found on Mars are billions of years old, providing an evidence of intense geological activity in the past. So, it is unusual for astronomers to spot completely fresh crater clusters on Martian surface. But that’s just what NASA researchers have found in latest images returned to Earth from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The image shows dozens of craters on Mars region called Tharsis but only the darker spots are the recent impact craters that occurred in between 2008 and 2014. Because the surface around the craters is dusty, the fresh craters appear dark black in the enhanced-color infrared image.

The fresh impact craters were originally discovered by Mars Context Camera or CTX onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Researchers believe that meteoroid that formed these craters must have broken up while entering Mars atmosphere and spawned at least twenty smaller impact craters.

“The dark halos around the resulting impact craters are a combination of the light-toned dust being cleared from the impact event and the deposition of the underlying dark toned materials as crater ejecta. The distribution and the pattern of the rayed ejecta suggests that the meteoroid most-likely struck from the south (which is up in the cutout).” NASA website says.

Studying fresh impact craters on Mars surface can offer valuable information about the rate of those impacts and the composition of subsurface materials that are exposed by those impacts. This information can also help address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is exploring Martian atmosphere since March 2006. The orbiter will beam back subsequent images of the impact craters if any changes to the site from wind-blown activity or dust-deposition were observed over time.

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