NASA Releases Pictures of a Newly Formed Impact Crater on Mars

Fresh images from NASA have revealed a new impact crater. The crater was first spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on April 17. The image was made public earlier this month. The orbiter has been studying the surface of the planet since the year 2006. It was launched from Earth a year before in 2005.

The images reveal a colorful impact crater with strands of blue, black and purple. The colors stand in contrast with Mars’ red surface giving it a dramatic look. The width of the crater is gauged to be close to 16 meters. The rock that has created the impact is estimated to be not more than 1.5 meters in width. The crater is estimated to have been formed somewhere between September 2016 and February 2019. The pictures reveal its location to be near to Valles Marineris canyon system near the Martian equator.

The pictures were taken by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera from NASA. The HiRISE camera website released the images. The images were taken from 255 kilometers away while orbiting the planet. The images point at the darker material beneath the surface of the planet. HiRISE team member and University of Arizona scientist, Veronica Bray said that the blue color in the picture indicated at the presence of water ice. “That has not yet been confirmed, but commonly, when a HiRISE image of a new impact shows a blue area, it is sometimes water ice,”¬†said Bray in a statement to CNN.

Scientists are however indicating at the possibility of the blue color to be nothing. The deputy project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Leslie Tamppari, told in a statement made to CNN that “They stretch these images. It’s all false color, not true color … (because) we don’t have every wavelength covered.” More than over 500 impact craters have been found on the planet. The study on these craters helps in understanding the process of impact cratering, said Tamppari.