May 13

NASA Probe Counts Space Rock Impacts on Mars

Source: NASA MRO


Scientists using images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have estimated that the planet is bombarded by more than 200 small asteroids or bits of comets per year forming craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) across.

Researchers have identified 248 new impact sites on parts of the Martian surface in the past decade, using images from the spacecraft to determine when the craters appeared. The 200-per-year planetwide estimate is a calculation based on the number found in a systematic survey of a portion of the planet.

MRO's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera took pictures of the fresh craters at sites where before-and-after images by other cameras bracketed when the impacts occurred. This combination provided a new way to make direct measurements of the impact rate on Mars. This will lead to better age estimates of recent features on Mars, some of which may have been the result of climate change. (read more)

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Aug 12

Amazing Image of Curiosity Parachuting to Mars

Source: NASA Science News

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona .

With split-second timing, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured an amazing snapshot of Curiosity parachuting to the surface of Mars.(read more)

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Nov 11

MRO catches Mars sand dunes in motion

Source: NASA News

A dune in the northern polar region of Mars shows significant changes between two images
taken on June 25, 2008 and May 21, 2010 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz./JHUAPL.

Images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) show sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars at dozens of locations and shifting up to several yards. These observations reveal the planet's sandy surface is more dynamic than previously thought. (read more)

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