Meteoroid Impact on Mars caused dusty avalanche

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

NASA has released new images captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), featuring an astonishing view of the planet’s crater grave site, as well as the trail from an avalanche triggered by a small space rock collision.

The new Mars crater was caused by an apparent meteoroid impact within the past 10 years, NASA officials explained in an image description.

NASA’s MRO located the crater from orbit, and the agency released the image on June 15.

“The crater itself is only 5 meters [16.5 feet] across, but the streak it started is 1 kilometer long!” NASA officials wrote. “Slope streaks are created when dry dust avalanches leave behind dark swaths on dusty Martian hills. The faded scar of an old avalanche is also visible to the side of the new dark streak.”

When the meteoroid that caused this crater hit Mars, it destabilized the slope it collided with, which caused an avalanche of Martian dust, dirt, and sand. This event left a dark streak, known as a slope streak, across the Martian surface. And as NASA pointed out, you can still see the “scar” from an older avalanche nearby.

Covered in sand, dirt and dust granules, the Martian surface is known to have storms and be struck by meteoroids.

Scientists have always questioned the origins of these marks. Previously, researchers suggested that these dark streaks could be caused by transient, flowing briny water, perhaps indicating that Mars is habitable, as many have suspected over time.

Researchers thought that subterranean water could have been rising to the surface and cause the dark streaks. This theory was supported when MRO detected hydrated salts in these streaks.

NASA’s MRO spacecraft launched to Mars in August 2005 and arrived in early 2006.