Orbital Camera Spots Weird Crater Within a Crater Formation on Mars

Deuteronilus Mensae crater 7 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
Deuteronilus Mensae craterDeuteronilus Mensae craterPerspective view of Deuteronilus MensaePerspective view of Deuteronilus MensaeDeuteronilus Mensae seen in contextBlack and white nadir view of Deuteronilus Mensae
Like it or not, nature is not a sharpshooter, and when it comes to rocks falling out of the sky on any given planet, it’s anybody’s guess as to where they’re going to hit. But it’s borderline commonsense that, just like lightning, asteroids never strike the same place twice. Or do they?
Being located to one side of the Asteroid Belt, Mars is both a magnet for the asteroids coming from there, but also an effective shield for our own planet. Over billions of years, the planet has been hit an uncountable number of times and, due to the fact that it lacks vegetation or any other features to block the view, impact craters are exposed for all to admire.

For a number of years now humanity has had a collection of tools to study the surface of Mars in orbit around the planet. It’s called Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and it houses one powerful camera called HiRISE.

The piece of tech is used to keep a close eye on the surface of the planet, with scientists back here on Earth using it to both discover new features, but also keep track of the changes that happen there over the years.

It is HiRISE that is responsible for the image we have here, showing a small area of the Deuteronilus Mensae region of the planet. The place is dotted with features, including one very strange formation smack down its center.

What we’re treated with here is a crater within crater, both surrounded by a depression that might have been formed by the sublimation of the dry ice that’s covering the planet from place to place.

The people over at NASA and the University of Arizona, who run the HiRISE camera, do not go to the trouble of explaining how this double crater formed, leaving us to speculate that maybe, just maybe, nature is a sniper from time to time.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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