NASA Locates Fresh Impact Crater on Mars

Posted on May 25, 2014

MARCI Mars impact crater

NASA has located a new impact crater on Mars. It is the biggest fresh impact crater on Mars ever documented with before-and-after images. The images were first captured with the weather-monitoring camera, the Mars Color Imager (MARCI), on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image above shows the new crater, which is 159 by 143 feet (48.5 by 43.5 meters). The image below shows both the impact crater and a before image of the site taken in 2012.

MARCI Mars impact crater before and after image


Scientist Bruce Cantor has been examining MARCi's daily global coverage since 2006. He looks for evidence of dust storms and other weather events in the image. He noticed an inconspicuous dark dot near the equator in one of the images about two months ago, which turned out to be the fresh impact crater.

Cantor says, "It wasn't what I was looking for. I was doing my usual weather monitoring and something caught my eye. It looked usual, with rays emanating from a central spot."

Take a look:



Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS