This photo of a new crater on Mars was captured by the powerful HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on November 19, 2013. NASA released the image yesterday (February 5). Researchers know the feature formed sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, because other MRO observations show big changes in the area between those two dates. Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year.
The crater spans approximately 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter and is surrounded by a large, rayed blast zone. Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to removal of the reddish dust in that area.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.