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Mysterious Circle Discovered on Mars, NASA Asks If It's an Impact Crater

Apr 07, 2017 11:53 AM EDT
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As if space mysteries are not enough, scientists and astronomers found another bizarre formation on the surface of Mars. The unusual circular structure of what could be craters were discovered near the red planet's South Polar.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera captured the images. It is easily construed as impact craters; however, careful analysis injects doubts on scientists' minds.

The stunning new discovery is puzzling scientists since it does not straightforwardly fall under the category of impact craters, although it appears to look like one. What makes it more interesting is the fact that it appears scaly or "reptilian" according to a report.

"Measuring the sizes and frequency of impact craters provides a constraint on the age of the landscape," a NASA official said in a press release. "However, craters in icy terrain are modified by processes that flatten and change them in such a manner that it is hard to say for sure if it had an impact origin."

Aside from the scaly appearance, the feature also changes in form, causing confusion among scientists regarding the origin of the mysterious formation. But investigators aren't putting aside the fact that it could indeed be an impact crater from a former collision.

The feature flattens and morphs over time, making it more difficult to ascertain the origin of the formation. NASA believes that more data is needed in order to fully understand the anomaly. The current image by HiRISE is about 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel.

Despite needing more data to understand the mysterious circle, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had already given science a ton of information about the surface of the red planet. Its 50,000 orbits resulted to the pieced mosaic image of what is estimated to be 99 percent of the Martian surface.

The mysterious images were released on the orbiter's 50,000th orbit last March 27. NASA commemorated the success with an animation that showcased the images captured by the orbiter over a span 11 years.

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