Pit craters are found on solid bodies throughout our Solar System, including Earth, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. These craters – which are not formed by impacts — can be indications of underground lava tubes, which are created when the top of a stream of molten rock solidifies and the lava inside drains away, leaving a hollow tube of rock. If a portion of the roof of the tube is unsupported, parts of it may fall in, making a hole or a pit along the lava tube’s path.Continue reading “The Tharsis Region of Mars is Peppered With These Strange Pit Craters. Now They’ve Been Found Elsewhere”
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – NASA’s eye-in-the-sky in orbit around the Moon – has found the crash site of the mystery rocket booster that slammed into the far side of the Moon back on March 4th, 2022. The LRO images, taken May 25th, revealed not just a single crater, but a double crater formed by the rocket’s impact, posing a new mystery for astronomers to unravel.Continue reading “Remember That Rocket That was Going to Crash Into the Moon? Scientists Think They've Found the Crater”
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Changes are always taking place on Mars, from factors like seasonal variations and wind. But there’s one other aspect that changes the surface of Mar quite often: impacts.
Here’s a new impact crater that was seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Exactly when the crater formed is not known, but this image was taken on July 24, 2020 and in a previous image of this site taken in 2018, the crater is not there.Continue reading “This Crater on Mars is Just a Couple of Years Old”
Most impact craters are usually circular and fairly symmetric, but not all. This odd-shaped crater on Mars is obviously an impact crater, but it has a unique oblong shape. What happened?Continue reading “Here’s Something Rare: a Martian Crater That isn’t a Circle. What Happened?”
Missions to Mars are expensive, even orbiters. They’re there to do science, not take pretty pictures. But sometimes Mars’ beauty is captured inadvertently, usually with some science mixed in.
That’s the case with this picture of star dunes captured by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.Continue reading “These are Star Dunes on Mars, Formed When the Wind Comes From Many Different Directions”
Observers have been tracking a chunk of space junk, waiting for it to strike the Moon. It should’ve hit the far side of the Moon, and hopefully, orbiters will have images of the impact site, though that might take a while.
The origins of the junk are in dispute. Some say it’s a spent booster from a Chinese rocket. Others say it’s from a SpaceX rocket. So far, nobody is claiming it.Continue reading “A Chunk of Space Junk Just Hit the Far Side of the Moon”
New research shows that Mars has faced a constant rain of meteors during the last 600 million years. This finding contradicts previous research showing that the impact rate has varied, with prominent activity spikes. Why would anyone care how often meteors rained down on Mars, a planet that’s been dead for billions of years?
Because whatever Mars was subjected to, Earth was also likely subjected to.
Who wouldn’t want to know our planet’s history?Continue reading “It’s Been Constantly Raining Meteors on Mars for 600 Million Years. Earth too.”
While Mars is known as the Red Planet, a variety of colors can be found on the planet’s surface. Just like on Earth, the array of colors we can see in images from Mars comes from the diverse minerals on or just under the surface.
In the case of this picture, subsurface minerals show up in gullies that have eroded down the side of a a giant sand dune.Continue reading “‘Glowing’ Sand Dune Erosion on the Side of a Martian Crater”
Who has an even bigger grin than ten years ago? This goofy-looking crater on Mars.Continue reading “The “Happy Face Crater” on Mars Has Been Changing Right Before Our Eyes”
That’s the kind of headline that can leave us scratching our heads. How can you see tree shadows on other worlds, when those planets are tens or hundreds of light years—or even further—away. As it turns out, there might be a way to do it.
One team of researchers thinks that the idea could potentially be used to answer one of humanity’s long-standing questions: Are we alone?Continue reading “Here’s a Clever Idea, Looking for the Shadows of Trees On Exoplanets to Detect Multicellular Life”