New Crater On Mars Spotted By NASA Craft

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New Mars crater found by MRO

(Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

A NASA Spacecraft has captured an incredible photo of a new martian crater that has been created sometime in only the last 3 years.

The stunning image was taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaidsance Orbiter (MRO) with its very powerful HiRISE camera on Nov. 19th, however the agency only released the photo publicly on Feb. 5th.

Scientists confirmed that the crater was formed sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, as other MRO observations show big changes in the area between the said dates.

“The crater spans approximately 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter and is surrounded by a large, rayed blast zone,” NASA officials wrote in a description of the new image. “Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to removal of the reddish dust in that area.”

Whatever caused the crater, be it asteroid or comet, ejected materials as far as 15km (9.3 miles) away from the impact site. Impressive. Craters like this new one are commonplace on Mars, which has been getting hammered by space travelling rocks for eons.

“Before-and-after imaging that brackets appearance dates of fresh craters on Mars has indicated that impacts producing craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) in diameter occur at a rate exceeding 200 per year globally,” NASA officials wrote. But, they added, “few of the scars are as dramatic in appearance as this one.”

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission cost $720 million and was launched in August 2005, entering Mars orbit in May 2006. It has been providing a much more detailed look at the red planet for scientists since then. MRO also acts as a crucial communications link between mission control and NASA’s rovers Opportunity and Curiosity.

Original Article: LiveScience