NASA spacecraft spots spectacular new crater on the surface of Mars

Rob Waugh
Contributor
The spectacular crater appeared recently (University of Arizona)

An orbiting NASA spacecraft has captured an image of a huge impact crater on the surface of Mars - which blasted away the red dust on the surface.

Scientists at the University of Arizona believe that the crater appeared between September 2016 and February 2019.

The image was captured by the HiRISE sensor on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The spacecraft has orbited Mars for 11 years - and observes the planet’s minerals and ice with sensors.

The researchers wrote, ‘An impressionist painting? No, it’s a new impact crater that has appeared on the surface of Mars.

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‘What makes this stand out is the darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust.’

Veronica Bray of the University of Arizona said that the crater was on the large side for such features on Mars - and that such impacts are fairly rare events on Mars.

The rock is thought to have been 5ft wide - of a size which would burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Bray said, ‘It is a reminder of what's out there.’

‘It's gorgeous. I'm glad I got it in the color strip.’