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Boom! Bam! Boom! How to make a triple crater on Mars

11 Nov 2020, 12:52 UTC
Boom! Bam! Boom! How to make a triple crater on Mars
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ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft acquired this image of a triple crater on Mars on August 6, 2020. The largest measures about 28 miles (45 km) across, and the smallest about 17 miles (28 km). Image via ESA.
The European Space Agency (ESA) released the image above late last month (October 29, 2020), showing a triple crater in an especially old part of Mars’ southern hemisphere. This region on Mars – known as Noachis Terra – was heavily bombarded early in the history of our solar system, about 4 billion years ago, when debris left over from the birth of the planets was flying loose. See the rounded edges on these craters? It’s a sign they are old and time-worn. How would such a crater triplet form? There are different possibilities.
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One possible explanation, ESA said – and thought to be the most likely explanation – is that the incoming debris (what we today might call an asteroid or a comet) broke into three pieces before hitting the ground, forming the crater trio upon impact. But, ESA added:
Not all ‘multiple impactors’ leave such clear and ...

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