A dramatic, fresh impact crater on Mars dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Researchers used HiRISE to examine this site because the orbiter’s Context Camera had revealed a change in appearance here between observations in July 2010 and May 2012, bracketing the formation of the crater between those observations.
Our image shows a large, rayed blast zone and far-flung secondary material around an approximately 30 meter-diameter crater, indicating a large explosion threw debris as far as 15 kilometers in distance. Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color due to the lack of reddish dust.
By examining the distribution of ejecta around the crater, scientists can learn more about the impact event.