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An eagle-eyed NASA spacecraft has spotted a fresh crater on Mars large enough to cover half of a football field, and it's no puny Martian pockmark. In fact, the crater is the largest new impact site ever seen on the Red Planet using orbiter photos.
NASA's powerful Mars Reconaissance Orbiter captured the photo of the new Martian crater after it suddenly appeared in March 2012. Mission scientists say it is the biggest fresh impact crater scientists have confirmed on any planet by using before-and-after images.
The crater likely was carved by a car-size asteroid in an impact event similar to last year's meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which shattered windows, damaged hundreds of buildings and left more than 1,000 people injured, NASA officials said.
The largest crater is quite shallow and spans 159 feet by 143 feet (48.5 meters by 43.5 meters). It was probably created by an object 10-18 feet (3-5 meters) long, HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson estimated. That's less than a third the length of the asteroid that hit Earth's atmosphere near Chelyabinsk. Mars' atmosphere, however, is much thinner than the one surrounding Earth, making the Red Planet more vulnerable to asteroid strikes. A study last year found that Mars likely gets hit with more than 200 asteroids annually.
Sometime in the last decade, something heavy slammed into the Martian atmosphere and shattered into a hard rain of superheated material. Those pieces fell to the Red Planet's surface, dotting the Martian dirt with a pattern of pockmarks.
...You know this happened recently on Mars because images of the same region from 2009 don't show the craters, as explained in a statement from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
Each year Mars is bombarded by more than 200 asteroids and comets, and while some of these leave similar dark smudges or other remarkable features, University of Arizona planetary scientist Veronica Bray told Space.com that this new crater is one of the most impressive she's seen.
...Such a tiny culprit would have probably burned up or eroded in Earth's much thicker atmosphere.
originally posted by: schuyler
Mars has no oceans. An impact would not cause a tsunami. That's what makes Earth impacts so devastating. You have a 70% chance of an ocean impact causing massive damage along the shores, where all the big cities are. Plus the Earth is heavily populated. Compare that to Mars. You have one little colony with a few buildings. Maybe you even decide to take refuge in known caves. In that situation the liklihood of your tiny colony being impacted by "more frequent" impacts is virtually nil. It's not worth considering.
I have no problem for people finding reasons to not go to Mars. By all means stay home in the comfort of your cozy home and solid (Cough!) infrastructure. Just don't stand in the way of people who want to go for one thing is certain: There will eventually be another ELE (Extinction Level Event) on Earth. That's why becoming an interplanetary species is crucial to human survival. We absolutely must get off this planet as soon as possible, but you individually need not do so.
originally posted by: Violater1
a reply to: AnakinWayneII
yet NASA won't let us see, in detail, the FACE or THE Pyramids on Mars!