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NASA Mars Weather Camera Helps Find New Crater on Red Planet

Date: 05/22/2014
Category: Mission News & Science
By: Andy Shaner

Researchers have discovered on the Red Planet the largest fresh meteor-impact crater ever firmly documented with before-and-after images. The images were captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The crater spans half the length of a football field and first appeared in March 2012. The impact that created it likely was preceded by an explosion in the Martian sky caused by intense friction between an incoming asteroid and the planet's atmosphere. This series of events can be likened to the meteor blast that shattered windows in Chelyabinsk, Russia, last year. The air burst and ground impact darkened an area of the Martian surface about 5 miles (8 kilometers) across.

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