Mars: a crater of darker material captured in image by NASA

NASA has managed to capture on Mars a crater of a darker material that recently formed on the surface of the red planet, and that caught the eye of scientist by the hue of its colors that stands out on the red planet.

The image was captured on April 17 of this year by the HiRISE camera of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been capturing images of Mars for more than 13 years. The image shows a crater of a darker hue compared to the land surrounding it.

Although it is unknown when this new crater originated, scientists estimate that it arose between September 2016 and February 2019, when a small space rock crashed into the surface of Mars, causing a colorful crater measuring between 15 and 16 meters wide.

The new and spectacular crater is characterized by dark spots and bluish tones, on the reddish dust of the Martian surface. According to Verónica Bray, a member of the HiRISE team and a scientist at the University of Arizona, the bluish color is probably due to the presence of ice on the soil of the planet.

The scientist mentioned that she does not rule out that the object that created this crater would have been “quite rare” because the opening is one of the largest that she has seen.

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She explained that the space rock would have been approximately 1.5 meters wide, so small in size, that it would have disintegrated when passing through an atmosphere thicker than Earth’s.

Bray argued that the object would have been more solid than the other rocks that enter the atmosphere of Mars, which often disintegrate and create chains of craters when their pieces hit the surface of the red planet. “It’s a reminder of what’s out there,” Bray told Space.com. She added that “Mars is a dynamic place, complete with changing sand dunes and dust whirlpools, but it finds in the craters the most interesting features of the surface of the red planet.”

“It’s a magnificent (crater) I’m happy to have achieved it in the color strip,” she said.

The image was captured on April 17, 2019, and shared on June 6 by the University of Arizona.

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Carl Frantz

Polyglot, humanitarian, Carl was born in Germany but raised in the USA. He writes mostly on tech, science and culture.