Thursday, June 13, 2024

Astronomy: This hole on the surface of Mars interests scientists

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Scientists recently noticed a hole on the surface of Mars. The discovery is even more interesting because no one knows what is inside.

This is a very surprising discovery, made possible by an image taken by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) probe. Recently, an image of the planet Mars alerted many scientists. the reason ? Researchers located on the surface A hole several meters in diameterlocated in the Arsia Mons region, known for housing one of the three dormant volcanoes in the Tharsis Montes group. As a reminder, this region is characterized by a vast volcanic plain several thousand kilometers long. This is also an area where several craters have been identified as possible collapsed skylights or openings in underground lava tubes.

Mars: a crater that arouses the curiosity of scientists

However, scientists still don’t know where these holes come from or what they serve for. What makes matters even more interesting is that the recently spotted crater is relatively deep: 178 meters according to estimates. These holes can therefore be compared to similar holes found near Hawaiian volcanoes, which are actually crater holes. As a reminder, the latter are the result of very deep underground cracks that occur after the explosion. Thus cracks can reach the surface which collapses. in other words, Scientists believe that holes on Mars could also be the result of volcanic activity. To learn more about these vents on the red planet, researchers want to find a solution to explore them. That’s why scientists are thinking of a way to make a robot that can enter one of these holes. Therefore, such a mission could make it possible to learn more about its origin and composition.

Mars: A crater that contained water, oxygen, and perhaps life…

A few days ago, NASA’s Mars rover, called Curiosity, found valuable evidence about the habitable environment that may have existed on Mars long ago. In Gale Crater, an ancient dry lake, the machine actually found manganese oxide, a black ore usually found at the bottom of oceans or lakes on Earth. It is an element that is formed only under conditions of oxidation, and requires the formation of oxygen. This is what scientists reveal in a study published in a magazine Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets These conditions could have allowed some form of life to emerge on the red planet. β€œOn Earth, these types of deposits occur all the time due to the high concentration of oxygen in our atmosphere, produced by photosynthesis and microbes, which helps catalyze manganese oxidation reactions.β€β€œ, explains Patrick Gasda, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, in a press release.

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