Today's Image of Mars shows how drastically one impact can change the Martian landscape. Scientists believe that one impact near the edge of Noctis Labyrinthus set off an enormous landslide into the canyon. The landslide spans over 25 km, bigger than most of the other landslides within this canyon. What was the source of this landslide?
|Click to see high resolution image from THEMIS.|
Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University, R. Luk.
There is an approximately 6km wide crater (left center) that scientists speculate caused the massive landslide. This just goes to show that Mars is an ever changing environment and that new discoveries can be made everyday. What one day may look like a boring slab of rock, could the next day be struck by an asteroid, revealing something magnificent and never before seen.
Throughout the course of the planets history Mars has been impacted millions of times by asteroids and comets. On occasion these impacts have ruptured underground water reservoirs, causing water to flood the surface. While this has not happened in recent history, scientists speculate that these underground aquifers still exist on Mars today, which means that at any time one of them could crack, spilling massive amounts of water onto the surface. While the possibility of that happening is very small, it is just that, a possibility.
Let us hope that one day an asteroid does rupture an underground water reservoir because that might get people interested in Mars again, which would mean that we'd get more funding for future missions!
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