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03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
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01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
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03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
03.21.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter By the Numbers
03.01.2016 MRO sees Frosty Spring Slopes
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02.10.2016 Wind at Work
11.16.2015 Change Observed in Martian Sand Dune
10.05.2015 'The Martian' Story's Ares 4 Landing Site
10.05.2015 The Ares 3 Landing Site (Figure A)
09.30.2015 Avalanche Ho!
06.29.2015 Mars Exploration Zone Layout Considerations
06.17.2015 Active High-Latitude Dune Gullies
06.03.2015 Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae
05.20.2015 Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor
05.20.2015 Honey, I Shrunk the Mesas
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05.04.2015 Diverse Orbits Around Mars
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03.25.2015 Pitted Landforms in Southern Hellas Planitia
03.12.2015 Curiosity Heading Away from 'Pahrump Hills'
02.18.2015 Lava Flow Near the Base of Olympus Mons
02.09.2015 Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars
02.04.2015 Curiosity Rover at 'Pahrump Hills'
01.22.2015 Frost on Crater Slope
01.16.2015 Components of Beagle 2 Flight System on Mars
Fresh Cluster of Impact Craters on MarsThis set of images from cameras on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents the appearance of a new cluster of impact craters on Mars. The orbiter has imaged at least 248 fresh craters, or crater clusters, on Mars.
The two upper images are from the orbiter's Context Camera (CTX). The upper-right image, taken on May 24, 2011, shows a dark patch at the center that is not present in the upper-left image, taken Aug. 15, 2010. The scale bar on each of these two images is 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles). The location on Mars is 4.472 degrees north latitude, 246.893 degrees east longitude. Due to the dust blanketing the ground in this region, impacts produce a dark-looking blast zone where the dust is disturbed.
Researchers investigated the new dark spot with the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, obtaining the lower image showing a cluster of small, fresh craters. The scale bar on this image is 100 meters (328 feet).
This set of images is from in a paper in the journal Icarus in which researchers report an estimated crater-forming rate of about 200 impacts per year on Mars producing craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) in diameter. More than half of the impacts in this size range result in clusters rather than single craters. Small asteroids and fragments of comets that would be too small to get through Earth's atmosphere can excavate craters on Mars because Mars has much less atmosphere than Earth.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates CTX. The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Univ. of Arizona