Bright Ejecta Reveals a Fresh Crater on Mars

Meteors hit much harder on Mars than they do on the Earth.  Lack of atmosphere obviously contributes to that, but its proximity to the asteroid belt also makes the red planet a more likely target for some gravitationally disturbed rock to run into.  Now that we have a satellite infrastructure consistently monitoring Mars, we are able to capture the aftermath of what happens when it is pummeled by space debris, and the results can be dramatic.

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This Crater on Mars Traps the Cold, and Remains Filled With Ice, All Year Round

This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometre-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

On June 2nd, 2003, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission left Earth to begin its journey to Mars. Six months later (on December 25th) the spacecraft fired its main engine and entered orbit around Mars. This Christmas will therefore mark the fifteenth anniversary of the orbiter’s arrival and all the observations it has made of the Red Planet since then.

Appropriately, the Mars Express mission was able to commemorate this occasion by capturing some beautiful photos of a Martian crater that remains filled with ice all year round. This feature is known as the Korolev crater, which measures 82 km (51 mi) in diameter and is located in the northern lowlands, just south of the northern polar ice cap.

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Weekly Space Hangout – May 23, 2014: How Do You Say “Camelopardalids?”

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)
Guests: David Dickinson (@astroguyz,, Alessondra Springmann (@sondy), Morgan Rehnberg ( / @cosmic_chatter) & Mike Simmons (Astronomers without Borders)

This Week’s Stories:
Possible Meteor Storm
Starlight Festival
ISEE-3 space act/reboot/amp arrived
Dream Chaser wind tunnel tests
Mars crater discovered
Atlas Launch
Mars Crater Seen Before/After

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday at 12:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Google+, Universe Today, or the Universe Today YouTube page.