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New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 3:42 PM

It wasn't there in 2012.

Mars is a dynamic planet. HiRISE has witnessed many surface changes over the past ten years, including hundreds of new craters formed by ongoing impacts. Most of these impacts are likely caused by asteroids that have strayed into collision courses with Mars. The planet’s much thinner atmosphere compared to Earth makes small asteroids less likely to burn up prior to hitting the Martian surface.

This new crater, which formed explosively at the point of impact, has a diameter of roughly 8 meters (about 25 feet), but its surrounding blast zone and ejecta extend over a kilometer (about one mile) beyond the crater itself. The materials exposed nearest the crater have distinctive yellowish and lighter grey appearances, while more distant ejected materials range from dark brown to bright bluish in an enhanced-color view. These varied materials may have originated from different layers penetrated by the impact.

This new impact was discovered using the lower-resolution Context Camera (CTX), also on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. An older CTX image of this region from May 2012 shows a uniformly dust-covered surface, while a newer CTX image from September 2016 reveals the crater’s dark blast zone. New craters on Mars are easiest to locate in such dust-coated terrains, where they provide opportunistic “road cuts” that allow scientists to see beneath the dust blanket and determine the underlying rock compositions and textures.

This particular crater formed about 300 kilometers (roughly 200 miles) east of the Spirit rover’s final resting spot in Gusev Crater.

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Guru

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#1

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 4:11 PM
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Guru

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 4:15 PM

I was thinking that too. A little small and shallow, but it would be interesting to send a probe in there and take a look-see.

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Guru
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#3
In reply to #2

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 4:46 PM

We'll send Rover right over . . .

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#4

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 5:03 PM

That is one impressive looking crater. What is the deal with the enhanced colors? Is it really that color or just shaded to show the event?
Drew K

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Guru

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 7:14 PM

The colours in the image have been enhanced to make differences in the material more visible. Many minerals have a very subtle colour depending on their composition, barely visible to our naked eyes, but visible to cameras. Enhancing the colours can help in identifying minerals.

The same enhancements were made to this colour photo of the Moon. To our eyes the Moon appears to just be colourless shades of grey, but it actually has colours. Digitally enhancing the colours makes them more prominent, doing for us what our eyes cannot do.

In the case of the Moon you can expect the darker maria to have a stronger blue hue because of titanium dioxide in the lunar soil. Areas with less titanium and iron have stronger purple and reddish hues. Lithium appears in a greenish tint.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:08 AM

What do you think of this...

USGS Map a Planet - Moon.Brightest crater lower right quadrant.

You can tweak the controls in the USGS web page and get higher resolutions and zoom. You can also compare different images from different cameras and satilites.

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Guru

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:23 AM

Unfortunately they charge a fee for the imaging-spectrometer's analysis.

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Guru

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:31 AM

This particular dataset is the UV-VIS Ultra Violet - VISible spectrum camera on board Clementine.

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Guru

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:40 AM

Yes, from this beastie.

I don't know who wrote that up. "Vilible?" "resoultion?" And "silicon" isn't capitalised.

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Guru

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:54 AM

You can browse and download anything you want. It might take a script and some patience, but you too can store the raw imagery. I did. You can do it right from the website. The moon is amazing!

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Guru

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:56 AM

That's a great site! Thanks!

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Anonymous Poster #1
#23
In reply to #6

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 4:19 PM

Looks like the moon is infected with some sort of flaky white fungus.

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Guru

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#5

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 5:13 PM

Would love to see the video in slomo....

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Guru

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/10/2017 7:32 PM

Meteorite strikes on the Moon have been filmed. This one would have visible on Earth with the brightness of a fourth-magnitude star.

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Guru

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#20
In reply to #7

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 9:32 AM

I watched the video, near the end, the narrator said that NASA was planning surface colonies on the moon and how during the month of March it would be best to stay inside due to high incidents of meteorite strikes.

Does this mean that before they have a moon colony, they must first create a habitat that can survive a 56,000 mile an hour meteorite hit ?

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Guru

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 9:40 AM

Micrometeoroids rain down on the Moon's surface just like they do in Earth's atmosphere (to the tune of 5 to 300 metric tons per day) and so these would pose the greater hazard I should think.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 10:41 AM

The odds of being struck by a meteorite increase the smaller you go, simply because there are more of them. As the meteorite in the video was quite large, it would be a fairly rare occurrence, but they don't have to be large to do a lot of damage.

Let's take an iron-nickel meteoroid, say, about 2 cm in diameter (~0.8") moving at about 10 km/sec. - a pretty typical speed for meteoroids. Such a meteoroid has about the same kinetic energy as a 15 kg artillery shell fired from a 105 mm Howitzer. A meteoroid about the size of a gumball.

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Power-User

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#8

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:02 AM

What's the luminescent all about?

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Guru

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:15 AM

This comment might help explain it.

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Guru

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#13
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Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 12:35 AM

Or it could be triffid blood.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 2:38 AM

O, is it a real plant?

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Guru

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#18

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 9:19 AM

Andrew: that is an interesting picture.

Based on the meteorite impact zone, material displacement, etc. Can you provide a visual representation of the meteorites path and approximate origin as to where the meteorite may have come from ?

Also, are there any clues from the impact point, what the composition of the meteorite was ?

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: New Impact Crater on Mars

02/11/2017 9:30 AM

No idea from which direction it came. It happened sometime between 2012 and 2016 when the crater was discovered. Totally unknown is the direction Mars was facing when it struck. Also unknown is the meteorite's mass and it's velocity at impact, and so how much of the ejecta is 'meteorite'? No telling but it was likely vaporised.

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