NASA has just confirmed the fact. Months ago a seismic movement had been felt on Mars. It was believed to have been caused by a meteorite. Indeed, the large meteorite hole on Mars confirms it.
It’s a huge new crater. It was learned by comparing before-and-after images captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) probe. Two scientific papers published yesterday in the peer-reviewed journal Science details.
The blast extracted rock-sized chunks of ice buried closer to the Martian equator than ever before. Future explorations will take advantage of this event. The meteoroid is estimated to have measured 5 to 12 meters.
The large meteorite hole on Mars is 150 meters wide and 21 meters deep. Part of the ejecta ejected by the impact flew up to 37 kilometers away. “It is unprecedented to find a new impact of this size. It’s an exciting moment in geologic history,” said Brown University scientist Ingrid Daubar.
The InSight robot is studying the planet’s crust, mantle and core. Seismic waves are key to the mission. They revealed the size, depth, and composition of Mars’ inner layers. Since landing in November 2018, InSight has detected 1318 marsquakes. Some, produced by small meteorites.
Water under the ground
But the earthquake resulting from this impact was different. It is the first one observed to have had surface waves. This is a type of seismic wave that ripples along the crust of a planet.
New craters expose materials beneath the surface. In this case, large chunks of ice were scattered by the impact. The subway ice will be a vital resource for astronauts. They could obtain drinking water or facilitate agriculture. Never before has buried ice been seen so close to the Martian equator. This is especially important. As the warmest part of Mars, it is an attractive place for astronauts to land.