A Fresh Wound


New Impact Crater on Mars
New Impact Crater on Mars

This image from the HiRISE camera on the MRO shows an impact crater that is estimated to have been formed some time between February and July of 2005. This feature is in an equatorial highland region of Mars.

Eroded Craters
Eroded Craters

The colors here are not true to life…they indicate material composition and density more than actual color as seen by the human eye.

What I find equally if not more interesting is the consistent north-south direction of the erosion around all the craters in the region. I have to assume this comes from either steady wind erosion or else a massive amount of lava – or water – flow in this area. Whatever caused it, it was both a powerful and widespread force of nature in Mars’ past.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

UPDATE: As far as the erosion patterns are concerned, I found out that they are caused by winds:

“Those features are windblown material, and their orientation is a result of the prevailing wind direction.” – JPL’s Dr. Candice Hansen, HiRISE Deputy Principal.


  1. Charlie says:

    Any idea how wide the crater is?


    1. J. Major says:

      About half an inch on my 23″ monitor. Maybe bigger on yours, depending on resolution. 😉

      Seriously though…the image post didn’t specify the width, but using my less-than-amazing mathematical skills and the original map projection image with scale noted, I am going to guess the crater itself is about 40 meters (131 feet) across. Give or take a few. In real-world terms, it’s wide enough for four tractor-trailer trucks to line up inside!

      Original image here: (http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/EXTRAS/RDR/ESP/ORB_011400_011499/ESP_011425_1775/ESP_011425_1775_RED.abrowse.jpg)


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