Mars has been NASA’s latest stomping ground, the source of a lot research and the occasional mystery. The latest exciting discovery on the Red Planet was a massive crater half the length of a football field, which is said to be the “biggest impact crater in the solar system that has been confirmed with both before and after images.”
The crater measures in at about 49 meters long, and was first imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 28, 2012. A dark spot was spotted while imagery from the Mars weather camera was being analyzed, and that led to a search about whether it had been there previously.
As it turned out, imagery from March 27, 2012 — the day before — did not show the crater, revealing both a before and after image for the impact’s damage. Landslides were discovered in the area as a result of the impact, as well as nearby smaller craters that may have resulted from debris from the initial impact.
The discovery may not seem like a big one to some, but to researchers already studying the planet, it proves to be another opportunity to learn more about the planet and the effects of impacts like this. Researchers have the unique opportunity to explore what is known to be a fresh crater with a known impact date.