Feeds

NASA spots new Mars meteorite crater

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter beams back best-ever space rock before and after shots

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NASA has captured the best ever before and after shots depicting a meteorite strike.

The strike in question happened on Mars in March 2012 but was only spotted earlier this year. The long wait came because while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter beams back pictures of the Red Planet daily, not all are immediately examined.

Earlier this year, a scientist named Bruce Cantor was browsing some old imagines and noticed a dark spot he'd not seen before. He then reviewed old images of the same area and found that on March 27, 2012, there was no spot. But on the 28th a new dark, round area was to be found.

NASA has since used the Orbiter's various cameras to take a closer look at the dark spot and has concluded that something rather large made it through Mars' atmosphere and struck its surface. Closer examination even shows several smaller craters around the main dent, suggesting whatever hit Mars broke up into, or was accompanied by, several smaller objects.

New meteorite crater on mars

Mars on March 27th, 2012 (L) and March 28th, 2012. Note new hole.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Other scans reveal landslides have occurred in nearby terrain, suggesting a shockwave or other disturbance.

The images have NASA folks excited because they're the best before and after shots humanity has ever captured of a cosmic collision, which should help us to understand them better. As learning is the reason we bother sending cameras to orbit other worlds, this is one welcome crash! ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.