This Martian Crater Is a Preferred Target for Space Photos Since the 1970s, Changed Little

Looking at the tens of thousands of photos sent back over the years from all the way over on Mars, one could be left with the impression that once snapped in a pic, a region of the planet is not revisited. After all, there are so many interesting things to see over there that coming back to a single spot could seem like a waste of time.
This crater on Mars was repeatedly snapped on film 7 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona
Martian impact crater looking like the mouth of Shai-HuludCassini crater on MarsCassini crater on MarsCassini crater on MarsCassini crater on MarsCassini crater on Mars
Yet, this is the nature of studying Mars: seeing changes that occur over time, in the same region, to get a better understanding of the place and the processes taking place there. And to do that, looking repeatedly at the same feature is the way to go.

Take the impact crater we have here, a relatively young one if we are to judge by the darker color it has, a telltale sign it’s been born not that long ago, talking on a cosmic scale, of course. The place has been photographed several times, according to scientists from the University of Arizona, who run the HiRISE orbital camera, by this new piece of equipment, with the most recent pic, the one we have here, snapped back in January 2022.

But the crater has been the focus of previous missions as well, with NASA’s Mariner 9 being the first to capture it on film. The Mariner 9 flew around Mars in 1971 as the first human-made spacecraft to orbit another planet and snapped over 7,000 images of the rock.

Some of them showed this crater, which since the 1970s has faded a bit in color (although not that much since the first HiRISE photo taken back in 2007), and will probably do so some more in the years ahead, as it will get buried in the Martian dust.

Scientists say they are looking at these changes and how fast they occur to better “understand changes on the Martian surface today.”
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various craters on Mars.

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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