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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spots fresh impact crater

Posted: 12 November 2012

A high-resolution telescope mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has uncovered the scarred impact site formed when a rocky bolide struck the Martian surface.

This observation shows a cluster of impact craters formed between August 2005 and November 2010. Check out the high-resolution version of the image. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
The HiRISE camera on MRO collects sharp imagery of the Martian surface, resolving objects as small as about 3 feet across.

Run by the University of Arizona, the instrument takes pictures of Mars in swaths. Scientists analyzing the imagery have occasionally spotted changes in terrain when comparing new pictures with previous data, revealing ongoing geologic activity, dust devils, and water and ice.

The HiRISE team released this image of an impact site last week. It formed some time between August 2005 and November 2010, the team said.

"The dark ejecta is obvious while the larger dark spot here is subtle," wrote Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for HiRISE.

"There is a tight cluster of craters rather than a single crater because rocky bolides often break up in the Martian atmosphere," McEwen wrote.