NASA Spacecraft Reveal Largest Crater In Solar System | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

AMA Drone Report

Airborne-Monday

Airborne-Tuesday

Airborne-Wednesday

Airborne-Thursday

Airborne-Friday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI

Airborne On ANN

AMA 07.20.17

Airborne 07.17.17

Airborne 07.18.17

Airborne 07.19.17

Airborne 07.20.17

Airborne 07.21.17

Airborne-Unmanned 07.18.17

Airborne-YouTube

AMA 07.20.17

Airborne 07.17.17

Airborne 07.18.17

Airborne 07.19.17

Airborne 07.20.17

Airborne 07.21.17

Airborne-Unmanned 07.18.17

NEW!!! 2017 AirVenture Innovation Preview -- YouTube Presentation / Vimeo Presentation

Fri, Jun 27, 2008

NASA Spacecraft Reveal Largest Crater In Solar System

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots Giant Basin On Planet Surface

New analysis of Mars' terrain using NASA spacecraft observations reveals what appears to be by far the largest impact crater ever found in the solar system.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor have provided detailed information about the elevations and gravity of the Red Planet's northern and southern hemispheres. A new study using this information may solve one of the biggest remaining mysteries in the solar system: why does Mars have two strikingly different kinds of terrain in its northern and southern hemispheres? The huge crater is creating intense scientific interest.

The mystery of the two-faced nature of Mars has perplexed scientists since the first comprehensive images of the surface were beamed home by NASA spacecraft in the 1970s. The main hypotheses have been an ancient impact or some internal process related to the planet's molten subsurface layers. The impact idea, proposed in 1984, fell into disfavor because the basin's shape didn't seem to fit the expected round shape for a crater.

The newer data is convincing some experts who doubted the impact scenario.

"We haven't proved the giant-impact hypothesis, but I think we've shifted the tide," said Jeffrey Andrews-Hanna, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Andrews-Hanna and co-authors Maria Zuber of MIT and Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., report the new findings in the journal Nature this week.

A giant northern basin that covers about 40 percent of Mars' surface, sometimes called the Borealis basin, is the remains of a colossal impact early in the solar system's formation, the new analysis suggests. At 5,300 miles across, it is about four times wider than the next-biggest impact basin known, the Hellas basin on southern Mars. An accompanying report calculates that the impacting object that produced the Borealis basin must have been about 1,200 miles across. That's larger than Pluto.

"This is an impressive result that has implications not only for the evolution of early Mars, but also for early Earth's formation," said Michael Meyer, the Mars chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

This northern-hemisphere basin on Mars is one of the smoothest surfaces found in the solar system. The southern hemisphere is high, rough, heavily cratered terrain, which ranges from 2.5 to 5 miles higher in elevation than the basin floor.

Other giant impact basins have been discovered that are elliptical rather than circular. But it took a complex analysis of the Martian surface from NASA's two Mars orbiters to reveal the clear elliptical shape of Borealis basin, which is consistent with being an impact crater.

One complicating factor in revealing the elliptical shape of the basin was that after the time of the impact, which must have been at least 3.9 billion years ago, giant volcanoes formed along one part of the basin rim and created a huge region of high, rough terrain that obscures the basin's outlines. It took a combination of gravity data, which tend to reveal underlying structure, with data on current surface elevations to reconstruct a map of Mars elevations as they existed before the volcanoes erupted.

"In addition to the elliptical boundary of the basin, there are signs of a possible second, outer ring - a typical characteristic of large impact basins," Banerdt said.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/mro

Advertisement

More News

Airborne-Unmanned 07.18.17: Moon Express, DJI Drone Hacks, Airdog Sports-Drone

Also: Ride Sharing, Indago UAS, S Korean Tiltrotor UAV, Drone Simulators, Airborne-Unmanned This is SERIOUS Unmanned Vehicle technology! Moon Express, one of the competitors in the>[...]

It's ALIVE! 2017 AirVenture Innovation Preview Program Now Available

Get The Inside Details On THE Most Exciting NEW Innovations And Product Announcements From OSHKOSH 2017... The staff of EAA and the Aero-News Network were pleased to release the la>[...]

AMA Drone Report 07.20.17: FAST Drones, GeoFencing, Certified Drone Photographer

Also: SureFly Helicopter Concept, 'Design a Drone', Raleigh v Drones, Aero-TV: AMA's David Mathewson The Drone Racing League recently tested the fastest racing drone, and set the G>[...]

Airborne 07.21.17: TruTrak Completes STC!, SureFly Helicopter, TDRS-M Satellite

Also: Oshkosh Airshows!, M400 Skycar Baloney, Apollo-Era Computers, Rockwell Collins TDR-94Ds, CAAS-EASA, Vega Prepared TruTrak Flight Systems has completed the STC of the Vizion a>[...]

Airborne 07.20.17: ForeFlight Scout, Airbus SAGITTA UAV, Privatization Fight

Also: NASA P2006T, Robert Sumwalt, First FL Legacy 500, Tuskegee Airmen, New RAF Trainer, VFA-115 ForeFlight has announced the availability of Scout, a portable, dual-band ADS-B re>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2017 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC