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NASA Discovered a Strange, Deep Hole on Mars -- Where Did it Come From?

Jun 06, 2017 07:45 AM EDT
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NASA may have the means to discover new patterns on Mars and on other planets but it doesn't mean that scientists can explain everything they have collected. Take for example the strange deep holes discovered on Mars that the agency can't explain.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) discovered the strange deep hole on Mars for the first time despite its 11-year observation on the surface of the red planet. The image was taken near the planet's south pole.

It's wittingly called the "Swiss cheese terrain" due to combined depressions and craters. The region has a large pit of melting frozen carbon dioxide and appears to be deeper than usual holes on the surface of Mars. Currently, astronomers and NASA scientists are still trying to find out what it is and how it formed.

The surprising thing is that there are a lot of known ways that could have created impact craters or holes on the surface of Mars. It is constantly bombarded with half a million of meteorite impacts, collapsing lava tubes and even ancient floods. But the origin of the strange deep hole on Mars baffles scientists since its origin cannot be attributed to the above-mentioned causes.

Earlier this year, NASA MRO also chanced upon a shallow hole like this. However, the newly discovered strange hole is nothing similar to that.

"We see many shallow pits in the bright residual cap of carbon dioxide ice," Alfred McEwen, of the University of Arizona's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory said in a statement. "There is also a deeper, circular formation that penetrates through the ice and dust."

NASA MRO's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera took the image. It can take photos larger than one meter (3 feet) from 200 to 400 kilometers (125 to 250 miles) from above. This means the strange hole on Mars is not small at all.

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