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Big space rock makes an impact on Mars

Orbiting spacecraft snaps image of huge crater and blast marks

By
6:43pm, February 5, 2014

MAJOR IMPACT  Light and dark streaks appear to burst from a fairly fresh impact crater on Mars in an image taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, a really big space rock slammed into Mars. An image of the resulting crater, released February 5 by NASA, shows a scar about 30 meters across.

Impacts aren’t uncommon on the Red Planet, which gets hit by more than 200 asteroids or comets each year. But few crashes leave such visible scars as the one shown above.

The photograph was taken November 19, 2013, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Based on the blue and black blast zone that appears to explode from the crater, astronomers estimate that the impact threw material as far as 15 kilometers.

Citations

JPL Media Release. NASA Mars Orbiter Examines Dramatic New Crater. Posted February 5, 2013.

Further Reading

E. Wayman. Impact craters may have been a toasty home for early life. Science News. Vol. 183. April 6, 2013. p. 9.

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