Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mars Bolide splatter on the surface.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera has once again found something pretty cool. This time it's a fresh set of craters on the surface which were created by a bolide which made it all the way to the ground. Here on Earth, we occasionally see these big, sky illuminating, and often exploding meteors. But most of the time, they break up well before hitting the ground - creating a valuable item which would go for big bucks on Ebay if you were more greedy for money than a piece of space stuff!
Since Mars' atmosphere is a lot thinner than Earth's stuff makes it to the ground much more often. That is what happened in this photo. This crater formed sometime between 2003 and 2007 since Mars Odyssey had imaged this area before and there was no splatter marks. This object had probably exploded in the air, broke up into smaller pieces and slammed into the surface creating the dark marks around the craters. But between the two big ones, there is a straight line. It's thought that the two pieces hit the ground at the same time, causing an interaction between the dust clouds or shock waves interacting with each other - forming the line between them. Is that cool or what?!

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