Zee Media Bureau
Washington: Researchers have discovered the largest fresh meteor-impact crater on Mars which was firmly documented with before-and-after images captured by NASA`s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
The crater was captured by the orbiter`s weather-monitoring camera, the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) and is about half the size of a football ground.
"Studies of fresh impact craters on Mars yield valuable information about impact rates and about subsurface material exposed by the excavations," said Leslie Tamppari, deputy project scientist at NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.
NASA said that the impact that created the crater was probably preceded by an explosion in the Martian sky caused by intense friction between an incoming asteroid and the planet`s atmosphere.
The air burst and ground impact darkened an area of the Martian surface about 8 km across.
Bruce Cantor, who is the camera`s deputy principal investigator at Malin Space Science Systems, had noticed an inconspicuous dark dot near the equator in one of the images about two months back.
Once verified as new, the dark spot was targeted by CTX and the orbiter`s sharpest-sighted camera, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE).
With Agency Inputs