The "trace" of a giant mythological bird has been discovered on Mars: how it formed
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter orbiter has photographed an amazing crater on Mars, very similar to the giant trace of the mythological Thunderbird, sung in the mythology of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and many cultures of the Pacific coast. The surprising shape of the crater is due to the fact that the asteroid or comet that created it crashed into the red planet at an angle.
As Universe Today tells us, impact craters are traces of a chaotic period in our solar system's history. These "greetings" from the past can be seen both on Earth and on our planet's satellite, the Moon, even with the naked eye. There are similar traces on Mars, but to study them you need not even a telescope, but an orbiting spacecraft with a powerful camera.
Just such a vehicle - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - was able to photograph an unusual Martian crater in high quality thanks to the HiRISE camera.
The crater was created by the impact of a space body on the planet. The impact occurred at an acute angle, so that the crater formed in its bizarre shape, rather than traditionally round.
Researchers note that most of the debris from this collision accumulated on the elevated plateau that is at the top of the image. The rest of the debris scattered to form a pattern reminiscent of the Thunderbird.
This unnamed crater is about 5 km across and is one of hundreds of thousands of craters of this size. It is located near the much larger Schiaparelli crater, as well as the huge impact basin of Planitia Plain.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been studying the planet since 2006. In that time, the spacecraft has managed to document many craters with various intriguing features. There are dune-filled craters, craters formed by ice sublimation, and double craters.
This variety of craters is due to where the red planet is located. Mars is located near the asteroid belt, so at one time it suffered impacts from a wide variety of space objects at different angles and speeds.
Now the big asteroids, capable of creating huge craters on planets, have already dried up in our solar system. And the remaining - are no longer so terrible for the planets, although they can still pose a certain threat.
As noted, the mere fact of an angled impact does not mean that a crater in the shape of a Thunderbird or something similar will be formed, because oblique impacts can form various forms of craters.
The most famous impact crater formed by an angular collision, as scientists point out, is on Earth. Researchers are almost certain that the crater Chicxulub, resulting from the fall of a 10-kilometer asteroid, which led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, was formed precisely from the impact at a low angle.
Scientists even believe that if the angle of impact had been different, its effects would have been different too.
"A steeply inclined impact leads to a nearly symmetric distribution of ejected rock and releases more climate-altering gases, per impactor mass, than a very shallow or nearly vertical impact," the scientists wrote in a 2020 paper.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL also told about the fact that the astrobiologist showed the most bizarre stone in 20 years of studying Mars.