The red planet has been hit by an asteroid in the past three years and the resulting crater has revealed a "darker material" beneath the reddish dust of Mars that is currently baffling scientists.
The image was captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera at NASA Mars reconnaissance orbiter on April 17, 2019. The black-and-blue area of the Martian landscape highlights the affected area.
A MYSTERIOUS LOGO & # 39; STAR TREK & # 39; SPOTTED ON MARS
Scientist Veronica Bray from the University of Arizona told Space.com that the crater was larger than the ones she observed and that it was a fairly rare event, the MRO observing Mars from continuous way for 13 years.
"It's a reminder of what's going on," she told reporters. "It's a magnificent [crater]. I'm glad to have it in the color band. "
The bluish ice visible on the image may be exposed ice, although Bray and his fellow researchers do not know exactly what it is and that further research is needed.
Peter Grindrod, Director of Planetary Science Research at the Natural History Museum in London, tweeted this gif by showing the images before and after.
The researchers suspect that the asteroid was no more than 5 feet wide and would probably have broken had it penetrated the Earth's atmosphere. But since Mars has a much lower atmosphere than Earth, it has a better chance of leaving an impact crater.
It is unclear exactly when the impact occurred, but the best estimate is that the impact crater formed between September 2016 and February 2019.
The exploration of space by NASA, and especially the MRO, has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. A tweet from President Trump has sowed confusion earlier this month when he said that "NASA should NOT talk about going to the moon," but rather "focus on things much more important things we do, including Mars (of which Moon is a part), Defense and Science ".
Under the direction of the Trump administration, astronauts will return to the Moon by 2024.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tried to minimize confusion, noting that NASA was using the moon as a gateway to Mars.
And just last week, the University of Arizona, which operates the HiRISE camera, released a photo taken by the MRO on Mars of a dune strikingly resembling the Starfleet logo on "Star Trek."
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