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Space

MRO HiRise Cam Reveals Stunning New Mars Crater

Nov. 19, 2013, image of new Mars crater with 9-mile ejecta
NASA says the ejecta from this newly formed 100-foot (30 -meter) crater on Mars extend over 9 miles (15 km) from the center of impact. The crater is at 3.7 degrees north latitude, 53.4 degrees east longitude on the Red Planet.

Scientists viewing the images of this area from JPL’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Context Camera (from Malin Space Science Systems, one of six instruments on the MRO) from July 2010 and May 2012 discovered a discrepancy between two images of the Mars surface.

They used MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on a subsequent pass in mid-November 2013 to capture this spectacular photograph. The University of Arizona, Tucson, which runs this Ball Aerospace & Technologies camera, describes the image:

“Our image shows a large, rayed blast zone and far-flung secondary material around an approximately 30 meter-diameter (100-foot) crater indicating a large explosion threw debris as far as 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) in distance.”

True-color craterThe scar from disturbed dust on the Red Planet appears blue because NASA uses “false color” to enhance features on less distinctive images. Here’s the true-color photo (right).

Before-and-after imaging, often used to document fresh craters on Mars, indicates that over 200 impacts producing craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) in diameter occur on the planet’s surface every year. This crater is 7.5 times that size, and NASA observers say that few of the scars are as dramatic as this one.

The image is available online here. At this link you’ll find other products from the same observation.




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