Scientists are contemplating the origin behind a strange feature recently discovered on the red planet. Researchers at the European Space Agency (ESA) took quality images obtained from Mars Express showing a strange feature on the Martian surface which is now been called as Ismenia Patera. They are contemplating the origin which could be because of supervolcanoes or meteorite causing impact crater. The region I spread across 47 miles on the Martian surface.
As per the report, Ismenia Patera is a shallow and broad bowl-shaped structure located in the Arabia Terra region towards the northern hemisphere on Mars. The structure is named as Patera because of its distinct shape spread across a massive 47 miles. It is believed to be one of the oldest geological structure on the Red planet dating back to almost four billion years ago. It formed approximately one billion years after the Earth was formed 4.9 billion years ago.
Researchers at ESA were successful in acquiring the visual information and images of this vivid feature through its newly launched Mars Express orbiter, however, its origin is still a mystery. But there are certain theories dictating the origin of such feature on our neighboring planet. Either it could be because of magma released by supervolcanoes that collapsed the region forming a patera or it could have been formed due to meteorite impacting on the particular region.
The typological evidence collected by the researchers dictates that there are valleys, dips, and peaks in the Ismenia Patera region. If impact theory is true, the patera would have been formed due to the crater followed by ice and sediment which later seeped into the crater thereby forming peaks and valleys, etc. On the other hand, if the theory of supervolcanoes is true, then the feature was created from massive volcanoes erupted causing the particular region to collapse due to the accumulation of melting and extremely hot magma. However, researchers haven’t zeroed the potential origin yet.
ESA’s Mars Express orbiter was sent to examine the geology and mineralogy of the red planet in an effort to understand it well. The orbiter has been successful in providing crucial data over its course of journey orbiting around Mars. It was responsible for locating and photographing the Ismenia Patera which triggered the researchers to examine it. The orbiter was responsible for conveying details on the climate and atmosphere at the red planet using its various instruments aimed towards scanning the planet for geological and mineralogical evidence. The orbiter found hydrated minerals which can only be formed in presence of water. The discovery poses instrumental in determining that Mars was wetter than Earth in the history of liquid water in abundance.
Researchers also found evidence of water ice beneath the surface with the use of an instrument called radar sounder. Then, it was also responsible for determining ice water near the polar caps with quantity estimated to create an 11-meter deep global ocean. All these findings can prove instrumental to determine if life ever or would survive on the red planet. Mars Express orbits around the planet at a sufficient altitude to gaze upon the clouds forming in the atmosphere. This is where researchers stumbled upon of the findings which state clouds were reported to have formed at an altitude of 62 miles. This is the highest elevation of clouds ever recorded when compared with all the planets in the solar system.