A bullseye on Mars


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Bullseye crater on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo on the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on November 30, 2019. It shows a lone crater on the flat northern lowlands of Mars in a region dubbed Arcadia Planitia.

The crater is intriguing because of its concentric ridges and central pit. As this region is known to have a great deal of subsurface water ice, close to the surface, these features were probably caused at impact. My guess is that the ice quickly melted, formed the kind circular ripples you see when you toss a pebble in a pond, but then quickly refroze again, in place.

This location is also of interest in that is it just north of the region that SpaceX considers the prime candidate landing site for its Starship manned spaceship.

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One comment

  • Molten rock rose post strike, then solidified into a hill or mountain, not a pit nor crater.

    If you take the extra time to notice which direction the light comes from (Right hand) by the surrounding splatter lines their shadows, it is apparent to me the so described crater is actually a rise compared to surrounding elevations. It is even more fascinating this way, fwiw.

    As you say, the lack of atmosphere aided in freezing (if you will) the molten matter into place- a mountain of concentric circles.

    If may help visualize my assessment if you imagine a drop of water falling into a cup of water, at one point, the water makes concentric circles higher than the level of the cup of water. The speedy cooling from lack of atmosphere aided in solidifying the matter before its wet-state equalized with the surrounds.

    All this said, one does presume an non retouched image.

    good stuff.

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