This image shows one of many fresh impact craters spotted by the UA-led HiRISE camera, orbiting the Red Planet on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since 2006.
The University of Arizona's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE camera, took pictures of the fresh craters at sites where before and after images had been taken. This combination provided a new way to make direct measurements of the impact rate on Mars and will lead to better age estimates of recent features on Mars, some of which may have been the result of climate change."It's exciting to find these new craters right after they form," said Ingrid Daubar of the UA, lead author of the paper published online this month by the journal Icarus. "It reminds you Mars is an active planet, and we can study processes that are happening today."
HiRISE targeted places where dark spots had appeared during the time between images taken by the spacecraft's Context Camera, or CTX, or cameras on other orbiters. The new estimate of cratering rate is based on a portion of the 248 new craters detected. If comes from a systematic check of a dusty fraction of the planet with CTX since late 2006.
The impacts disturb the dust, creating noticeable blast zones. In this part of the research, 44 fresh impact sites were identified.
The meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February was about 10 times bigger than the objects that dug the fresh Martian craters.
Estimates of the rate at which new craters appear serve as scientists' best yardstick for estimating the ages of exposed landscape surfaces on Mars and other worlds.
Daubar and co-authors calculated a rate for how frequently new craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) in diameter are excavated. The rate is equivalent to an average of one each year on each area of the Martian surface roughly the size of the U.S. state of Texas. Earlier estimates pegged the cratering rate at three to 10 times more craters per year. They were based on studies of craters on the moon and the ages of lunar rocks collected during NASA's Apollo missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
"Mars now has the best-known current rate of cratering in the solar system," said UA's HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen, a co-author on the paper.
MRO has been examining Mars with six instruments since 2006. Daubar is an imaging targeting specialist who has been on the HiRISE uplink operation s team from the very beginning. She is also a graduate student in the UA's department of planetary science and plans on graduating with her doctorate in spring 2014.
"There are five of us who help plan the images that HiRISE will take over a two-week cycle," she explained. "We work with science team members across the world to understand their science goals, help select the image targets and compile the commands for the spacecraft and the camera."
"The longevity of this mission is providing wonderful opportunities for investigating changes on Mars," said MRO Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory operates the HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo. Malin Space Science Systems of San Diego built and operates the Context Camera. JPL manages the MRO for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, built the orbiter.
Daniel Stolte | University of Arizona
Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences