MRO spies a fresh Mars meteorite impact crater

Shane McGlaun - Jun 18, 2019, 9:16am CDT
MRO spies a fresh Mars meteorite impact crater

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been circling the Red Planet and looking for interesting things for over a decade now. One of the most recent discoveries that the MRO has made is a new crater formed by a meteorite impact on the surface of Mars. The image below was snapped on the surface of Mars using the MRO HiRISE camera in April and posted on June 6.

It’s not clear when precisely the crater was formed. The impact that created the crater happened between February 2017 and March 2019 says Peter Grindrod. The remarkable thing about this particular crater is that it is one of the larger craters that has been seen on the surface of Mars.

The team estimated that the crater is between 49 and 53 feet wide. Size estimates for the impactor that caused the crater put the object at about 5 feet wide. That is so small that if it had entered Earth’s atmosphere, it would have broken into pieces or completely burned up. Scientists do say that the impactor that created this crater might have been more solid than usual.

The scientists say that most rocks that come into Mars’ atmosphere shatter high in the air and cause a chain of craters as the broken pieces smash into the ground. The crater is interesting to look at with black and blue scattered on the surface of the Red Planet.

NASA does have images of the same area where the new crater is before the impact happened; this is how the team knows the approximate time. As for the color of the crater, the dark zone is where dust was shifted off the surface and under that is likely basalt rock. The zones with the blue color may or may not be exposed ice.

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