"Work of Art" Crater on Mars Captured by NASA's HiRISE

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered an impressive new crater on Mars.
Fabienne Lang

On 17 April, NASA's spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, used its High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and captured images of an impressive and supposedly newly formed crater on Mars. 

The crater is in the Valles Marineris, a region near the equator of Mars, and is believed to have been formed between September 2016 and February 2019.


No exact date or year can be specified at this point as Mars' surface can only be shot during long intervals.

"Work of art"

The HiRISE revealed that the crater is a "work of art," as the "darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust" makes this crater in particular, stand out. By looking at the images, we understand why. 

Veronica Bray, HiRISE team member at the University of Arizona in the U.S. said the crater is around 15 to 16 meters wide (49 to 53 feet), and the darker section in the picture depicting the impact zone is in fact 500 meters wide (or 1,640 feet).

The crater itself is roughly 1.5 meters wide (5 feet). 

"Work of Art" Crater on Mars Captured by NASA's HiRISE
Black and white photo of the new crater. Source: NASA/ JPL/ University of Arizona

The rock that made the impact was likely quite solid, according to Bray, as there is no proof of it breaking off into smaller pieces as it passed through Mars' atmosphere.  Basaltic rock underneath Mars' surface may have been exposed, but it's hard to tell, stated Bray.

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Discovering new impact craters on Mars is nothing new for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The spacecraft itself is quite a feat. It was placed in Mars' orbit in 2006 and was meant to stay only two years. It has now been 13 years and it is still going strong. 

What other fantastic images and discoveries will it capture in the coming years?