April 23, 2024

The impact on Mars left billions of craters – and important evidence

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On the red planet Mars, the 14-kilometre-wide Corinto crater is likely the smallest giant crater. (Image montage) © NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/MRO (Montage)

A new study has revealed fascinating details about the Corinto Crater on Mars. The results could change Mars' view of the past.

MUNICH – Mars is a very exciting planet – and not just for searching for signs of past life. The planet as a whole is also fascinated by research. For example, Mars is home to the largest mountain and volcano in the entire solar system. A volcano larger than Earth's Mount Everest was recently discovered. But the Red Planet's many craters also invite exploration, even from a distance, as no human has ever set foot on Mars.

Corinto Crater on Mars is the smallest large crater on the Red Planet

A research team focused on exploring the Corinto Crater in Mars' Elysium Planitia region using the HiRISE and Context Camera cameras aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The crater is about 14 kilometers in diameter, and it provided enough incentive for researchers to take a closer look at it. Scientists believe that asteroids large enough to cause a crater of this size only strike Mars every three million years.

The research team estimates the age of Corinto at about 2.3 million years, making it likely the youngest large crater on Mars. “Corinto is a recent impact crater in Elysium Panitea that has produced one of the most extensive secondary cratering systems on Mars,” the researchers said in a statement. StadyWhich is on Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference Published and not yet reviewed.

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The impact on Mars created about two billion craters

The research team found that the object that created Corinto Crater also created many small craters in the surrounding area. The massive impact ejected fragments of Mars, which rained down on the surrounding area and created more craters. These formed radial patterns that, according to researchers, are still visible today.

These “secondary” craters, of which the study indicates about two billion, are located mainly south and southwest of Corinto. The research team found the most distant material 1,850 kilometers from the main crater. Craters near the main crater are shaped like semicircles, while craters farther away are more elongated and flat.

Corinto Crater provides important clues about Mars' past

Based on the Corinto main crater, the research team was able to make some statements about the impact and the condition of Mars at that time. The colliding body, most likely an asteroid, came from the north and struck Mars at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees, according to the study. According to researchers, it was made of “hard and efficient basalt.”

The research team discovered many craters inside the hole, which is about one kilometer deep. This leads researchers to believe that the region of Mars was covered by water or water ice when it struck about 2.3 million years ago. “The craters on the ground indicate underground drainage or unloading of ice-rich target materials,” the study said. This is important evidence for research studying the path and disappearance of water on Mars. (unpaid bill)

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