Mars Got Hit By a Meteorite, And Now There’s a Picture

Follow up with NASA’s high-resolution HiRISE camera captured this dramatic impact crater

02_07_2014_mars crater.jpg
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

A gorgeous new satellite photo, captured by the High Resolution Imagine Science Experiment (HiRISE) currently in orbit around Mars, shows the remnants of an impact, the strewn debris from a piece of space debris that slammed into the red planet sometimes between 2010 and 2012. The crater, says NASA, is around 100 feet across, with the ejecta spray reaching out a further 9 miles.

To give those analyzing HiRISE's photos a better look at the surface details, the camera's images are tinted to correct for Mars' red soil, turning it a pale grey. But the rocks beneath the Martian surface don't have the same red tint, meaning that the dust thrown up by the impact comes to look bright blue in the processed image.

Mars gets hit by around 200 piece of space junk every year, says io9, but observations of the red planet don't come so frequently. A comparison of two photos, snapped two years apart, is what turned up this new crater. It was first detected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's wide-field Context Camera, appearing some time between two photos captured in 2010 and 2012. A follow-up study using the higher magnification HiRISE camera (also on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) a few months ago gave the view above; NASA just released the result this week. 


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