New Mars crater turns Mars black, blue

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LONDON
Sometime between September 2016 and February of this year, there was a big blast on Mars that appears to have painted the surface of the red planet with other hues as well. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) photographed the newly formed crater in April and the image was shared online earlier this month. Mars is probably hit by chunks of asteroids and other debris on a regular basis, given its thin atmosphere and proximity to the asteroid belt, but this collision was particularly impressive. This is a whopper of an impact, as new craters go diameter is 16 m (52 feet) Peter Grindrod, planetary sciences research leader for the UK Natural History Museum, wrote on Twitter. Before and after photos of the region shows just how much damage was done by the meteor that smacked our planetary neighbor. What makes this stand out is the darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust, writes the team of the MRO’s HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), dubbed the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet. The new feature represents an opportunity for scientists, who now get a closer look at a bit of the Martian surface that’s been conveniently cleared of dust and its top layers of regolith. But it’s also a little bit foreboding for any space agencies or billionaires named Elon who might have construction projects in mind for Mars. Little-known meteor shower this month could have dangerous stowaways: The Beta Taurids are rarely seen, but there’s increasing evidence they’ve been strongly felt at least once in the past.

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