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The clue comes from the surrounding blanket of material, thrown out in the initial impact. This ‘ejecta blanket’ is shaped like a butterfly’s wings, with two distinct lobes. This hints that two projectiles, possibly halves of a once-intact body, slammed into the surface here.
In the crater itself, there are three deeper areas that could be evidence for more than two projectiles. In addition, a second elongated crater lies to the north-northwest. It can be seen in the wider contextual image and is in line with the one seen here, reinforcing the notion that these structures were the result of a train of projectiles.
In the early 1980s, scientists proposed that elongated impact craters were formed by incoming chains of orbital debris following trajectories that decayed with time. As the debris spiraled downwards, it eventually struck the planet at shallow angles, gouging out the elongated craters.This particular ejecta blanket contains many smaller craters, indicating that the original formed a relatively long time ago and then itself become a target.
In addition, there are several small channels on the blanket, suggesting that the strike took place into a surface rich in volatiles, perhaps even water, that were melted by the heat of impact and flowed away. Water is essential for life as we know it, and evidence of water on Mars could help astrobiologists understand if the planet was once habitable for living organisms.
I wouldn't say it's cleared up, they apparently are still clueless about how many projectiles were involved in forming that. When they can answer that, then I'd agree it's cleared up.
Originally posted by BlackPoison94
So that's one mystery of Mars cleared up...now to the many more..