Australian News

Australian news and media publication


The European Space Agency’s ExoMars orbiter captured a stunning photo of a Martian crater that looks like a tree stump with concentric rings.

The CaSSIS camera aboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) captured the bird’s-eye view of the wooded crater last June.

TGO blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan in 2016 and has been circling the Red Planet for nearly four years.

Like the rings in a piece of tree wood, the crater has jagged fractures that are thought to have been caused by the expansion and contraction of water ice.

The crater is situated on the northern plains of Acidalia Planitia, which may once have been home to a vast ocean.

This strange geological feature on the surface of Mars could easily be mistaken for a tree stump with characteristic concentric rings.

TGO (depicted here in an artist's impression) arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018

TGO (depicted here in an artist’s impression) arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018

ACIDALIA PLANITIA: THE SITE OF A GREAT ANCIENT OCEAN?

Acidalia Planitia is a vast and largely flat plain that is part of the vast northern lowlands of Mars.

It is visible as a dark spot even from ground-based telescopes.

Scientists are debating the likelihood that the northern plains once contained a large ocean or other bodies of water, likely covered in ice.

Acidalia Planitia is covered by fields of boulders that can reach several meters in height, making it difficult for a rover to drive in this area.

Source: NASA/Planetary Society

Acidalia Planitia is covered by fields of boulders that can reach several meters in height, making it difficult for a rover to drive in this area.

In the 2015 film The Martian, fictional astronaut Mark Watney traverses Acidalia Planitia in an attempt to be rescued after being stranded on Mars.

ESA revealed that the unusual image was taken by the CaSSIS camera on board TGO on June 13, 2021 in the vast northern plains of Acidalia Planitia, centered at 51.9°N/326.7°E.

The interior of this particular crater is filled with deposits that are likely rich in water ice, probably dating back millions of years.

“This feature could easily be mistaken for a tree stump with characteristic concentric rings,” the ESA said. “It’s actually a stunning bird’s-eye view of an ice-rich impact crater on Mars.

“Tree rings provide snapshots of Earth’s past climate, and although they formed in a very different way, the patterns within this crater also reveal details of the Red Planet’s history.”

One of the notable features in the crater deposits is the presence of quasi-circular and polygonal fracture patterns.

These features are likely the result of seasonal changes in temperature causing cycles of expansion and contraction of the ice-rich material, ultimately leading to the development of fractures.

Topographic map generated from MOLA data, including feature boundaries.  Acidalia Planitia is the northernmost central feature characterized by dark blue low elevation terrain

Topographic map generated from MOLA data, including feature boundaries. Acidalia Planitia is the northernmost central feature characterized by dark blue low elevation terrain

In the 2015 film The Martian, fictional astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon, pictured) drives through Acidalia Planitia in an attempt to be rescued after being stranded.

In the 2015 film The Martian, fictional astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon, pictured) drives through Acidalia Planitia in an attempt to be rescued after being stranded.

EXOMARS DISCOVER ‘SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF WATER’ THREE FEET BELOW THE SURFACE OF MARS

(ESA) announced in December 20201 that it had found “significant amounts of water” hidden in the Grand Canyon on Mars.

The discovery was made by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which detected water just one meter below the surface of the Valles Mariners, a massive canyon system that stretches more than 2,400 miles across the dusty Martian landscape.

“We found a central part of Valles Marineris filled with water, much more water than we expected,” Alexey Malakhov, also of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Read more: ESA’s ExoMars finds water hidden below the surface of Mars

What are believed to be water ice deposits in the crater probably established during an earlier time in Mars’ history when the tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation allowed such deposits to form at lower latitudes than today.

Just like on Earth, the tilt of Mars gives rise to the seasons, but unlike Earth, its tilt has changed dramatically over long periods of time.

ESA’s ExoMars program comprises two missions. The first, TGO, arrived on Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018.

TGO was accompanied by the failed Schiaparelli lander, which crashed on the Martian surface due to a premature parachute release.

Schiaparelli is now nothing more than a crusty black spot surrounded by rusty red sand.

The second, comprising a UK-built rover called Rosalind Franklin and a surface platform, is due later this year.

Named after the London-born scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, Rosalind Franklin is due to fly into space in September 2022 from southern Kazakhstan.

Built by Airbus Defense and Space, at the company’s UK facility in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, the rover will be able to drill 6.5 feet (2 meters) below the surface, collecting samples from regions unaffected by radiation.

The rover is the first to honor a female scientist on its flagship discovery ship.

Earlier this month, the UK Space Agency confirmed that Rosalind Franklin has passed her latest round of tests and is on track to blast off for the Red Planet in September.

The Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover has passed its latest round of tests and is on track to blast off for the Red Planet in September, the UK Space Agency has confirmed.

The Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover has passed its latest round of tests and is on track to blast off for the Red Planet in September, the UK Space Agency has confirmed.

The image captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows diffuse dark material from the Schiaparelli accident.

The image captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows diffuse dark material from the Schiaparelli accident.

If this goes according to plan, ESA will become the fourth agency to operate a vehicle on another world, after the Soviet Union, NASA and China.

Understanding the history of water on Mars and whether this ever allowed life to flourish is at the heart of ESA’s ExoMars missions.

“The rover named after Rosalind Franklin will drill up to two meters into the surface to sample the soil, analyze its composition and search for evidence of past, and perhaps even present, life buried underground,” says ESA.

NASA DISCOVERS SALT MINERALS ON MARS INDICATING RIVERS AND PONDS EXISTED FOR A BILLION YEARS LONGER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

Water flowed on Mars as recently as 2 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, more recently than previously thought, a new study reveals.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) used NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to determine that liquid water on the Martian surface left behind salt minerals as recently as 2 billion years ago.

The chloride salt deposits were left behind when the frozen water flowing across the Martian landscape evaporated.

Until now, liquid surface water on Mars was thought to have evaporated about 3 billion years ago, but the new results push that forward by as much as a billion years.

Using both cameras to create digital elevation maps, the researchers found that many of the salts were in depressions that once held shallow pools on gently sloping volcanic plains.

Scientists also found winding, dry channels nearby, ancient streams that once fed surface runoff (from occasional ice melt or permafrost) into these ponds.

Crater counting and evidence of salts on top of the volcanic terrain allowed them to date the deposits. Generally, the the fewer craters a terrain has, the younger it is. By counting the number of craters in a surface area, scientists can estimate their age.

Read more: Water flowed on Mars longer than previously thought, NASA says


noticiasdelmundo.news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.