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Strange patterns in the crater of Mars

NASA released a new image of the crater Airy-0 on Mars with prominent ridges that look like human fingerprints.

Crater Airy-0 as seen from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  Photo: NASA

Crater Airy-0 as seen from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image: NASA

Airy-0 is a depression 0.5 km in diameter located in the much larger Airy crater, approximately 43.5 km wide, in the Sinus Meridiani region of Mars. It is named after astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy, who built the telescope at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in England, where the giant crater was first discovered.

Originally, in 1884, NASA chose the entire Airy crater to mark the prime meridian of the planet, where the Eastern hemisphere meets the Western hemisphere, because it was large enough to be seen with ground-based telescopes at that time. that point.

“However, as high-resolution photos become more common, choosing a smaller object to mark the prime meridian of Mars is necessary,” a NASA representative wrote on Instagram. Therefore, astronomers chose Airy-0 to replace Airy because it is the right size and does not require drastic changes to existing maps.

The stunning image above was taken by the high-resolution camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on September 8, 2021, but was recently shared by NASA in an Instagram post on April 11, 2022. It shows prominent brightly colored ridges – known as TAR ridges – inside Airy-0 crater, reminiscent of human fingerprints.

These ridges form from sand dunes and are covered with a thin layer of dust. The dust covering the TAR in the Airy-0 crater is most likely hematite, a mineral made from iron oxide, which is abundant in the surrounding area and gives the ground a grayish color in the image. Hematite dust is reflective, which makes the TARs stand out from the rest of the crater.

This is not the first time astronomers have observed strange ridges in impact craters on Mars. On March 30, the European Space Agency (ESA) released images of the double crater taken by the Mars Express orbiter. One of these craters looks like a “brain topography” with ripples very similar to wrinkles on the human brain. However, those patterns are glacial sediments, not TARs.

Doan Duong (According to Live Science)

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