Science

See this incredible pic of well-preserved elliptical crater shot by HiRISE camera on Mars

NASA image of the day shows well-preserved impact ejecta on Mars

The US space agency NASA’s image of the day shows a stunning view of a well-preserved unnamed elliptical crater in Terra Sabaea, is illustrative of the complexity of ejecta deposits forming as a by-product of the impact process that shapes much of the surface of Mars.

Here we see a portion of the western ejecta deposits emanating from a 10-kilometer impact crater that occurs within the wall of a larger, 60-kilometer-wide crater. In the central part is a lobe-shaped portion of the ejecta blanket from the smaller crater. The crater is elliptical not because of an angled (oblique) impact, but because it occurred on the steep slopes of the wall of a larger crater. This caused it to be truncated along the slope and elongated perpendicular to the slope. As a result, any impact melt from the smaller crater would have preferentially deposited down slope and towards the floor of the larger crater (towards the west).

Within this deposit, we can see fine-scale morphological features in the form of a dense network of small ridges and pits. These crater-related pitted materials are consistent with volatile-rich impact melt-bearing deposits seen in some of the best-preserved craters on Mars (e.g., Zumba, Zunil, etc.). These deposits formed immediately after the impact event, and their discernible presence relate to the preservation state of the crater. This image is an attempt to visualize the complex formation and emplacement history of these enigmatic deposits formed by this elliptical crater and to understand its degradation history.

Previously, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that is orbiting Mars has shown how Earth and Moon together appear when seen from the red planet. The breathtaking view was taken on Nov. 20, 2016 by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists at NASA revealed that the spacecraft was nearly 127 million miles away from the Earth when it clicked the image.

MRO captured Earth and Moon differently and scientists at the US space agency later processed and stitched the images to make one composite picture that shows both — the moon and Earth. Also, scientists have maintained the correct aspect ratio of both the celestial object while joining the image.

The combined view retains the correct positions and sizes of the two bodies relative to each other. The distance between Earth and the moon is about 30 times the diameter of Earth. Earth and the moon appear closer than they actually are in this image because the observation was planned for a time at which the moon was almost directly behind Earth, from Mars’ point of view, to see the Earth-facing side of the moon.

In the image, the reddish feature near the middle of the face of Earth is Australia. With HiRISE and five other instruments, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been investigating Mars since 2006.

NASA shares incredible composite image of Earth and its moon as seen from Mars by MRO
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Also, see top 16 images of Earth shortlisted by NASA that were captured in 2016. These images show Earth in shades and patterns like you have never seen before. From a sunset over the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean to thunderstorms over the Philippine Sea, from Dubai to Aurora Australis, the images seem ethereal.

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