New images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveal intriguing geological features on the Red Planet.
As you can see on these images, it appears there are giant sinkholes, or caves on Mars.
This enhanced image shows the inside of a rimless pit about 180 meters (591 feet) in diameter, northwest of the mountain Ascraeus Mons in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
The images are part of an observation made by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 1, 2010.
The terrain covered in the observation includes two dark pits apparently aligned with larger, degraded depressions.
MRO’s sister orbiter, Mars Odyssey, first noticed the two deep pits a year earlier using its infrared camera, THEMIS.
When compared to the surrounding surface, the dark interiors of the holes gave off heat at night but were cool by day,” said Alfred McEwen, principal investigator on the HiRISE camera.
“So we then decided to target these with MRO because this thermal information may be evidence for these being caves—but the jury is still out on that.”
Careful study of the walls and floors of the pits, as well as of the surrounding terrain, will help unravel the complicated series of processes that must have been responsible for their formation and subsequent modification.