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Solar System Scratchpad

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Mars, Impact Craters

Craters on Mars. Surface acceleration is about the same as on Mercury. Craters on Mars have been weathered in a variety of ways. Some contain shifting sand dunes. Some may contain water ice beneath them, such as those as Sinus Sabaeus.

Mars/Craters Web Pages[]

Individual Craters[]

  • Eberswalde Crater - Crater near the Martian equator. The runner up target for the Curiosity rover on Mars. This crater very clearly held a lake, unlike Gale Crater, which was chosen, which is more of an enigma. It is the site of a former river delta.
  • Holden Crater - One of the top four landing candidates for the Curiosity Rover a year before the final candidate was chosen. Similar in many ways to Eberswalde in that it appears to have an ancient river delta, it lost out by a hair.
  • Firsoff Crater - An ancient crater near Mars' equator. Hundreds of "mud volcanoes", mounds up to 500 meters across and dozens high, have been found. These are thought to have formed when the surface was wetter from material that oozed out to the surface. Not formed from molten rock as there are no deposits of volcanic ash or lava nearby.
  • Rahe Crater - An oblique crater located between Ceraunius Tholus and Uranius Tholus. A valley connects it to Uranius Tholus, indicating water may have once flowed between them.
  • Bacolor Crater - The "Magnificent Crater" on Mars, photographed by Mars Odyssey. 12 km across.
  • Lyot Crater (May) - Giant impact crater that is the deepest point on Mars' northern hemisphere. MRO found 20 winding valleys that were formed by water over a site dated 1 billion years ago. There are currently dust covered glaciers near the site.
  • Vernal Crater (Feb) - Crater near Arabia Terra in Oxia Palus quadrangle that is the possible site of ancient hot springs detected by the MRO.
  • Gale Crater - Destination for the Curiosity rover, located at the border of the Southern Highlands of Mars and the Northern Lowlands. It may have been a lake in the past. The rover will search for signs of present or past microbes in the surface. Central peak is higher than any mountain in the continental United States. The crater is bisected by a grand canyon like feature where water may have flowed. Landing site contains material that has washed down from the crater's rim.
  • Endurance Crater - A crater visited by the Opportunity Rover during its first year for about six months. It is similar to the larger Victoria Crater it would later visit.
  • Hale Crater - A Martian crater recently imaged by HiRISE that contains gullies on its edges. It is likely the youngest of all craters its size. There are some who claim ancient ruins have been found here.
  • Proctor Crater - A crater in the Noachis quadrangle, one of the oldest regions on Mars. Large sand dunes were found in it by the MRO HiRISE camera.
  • Victoria Crater - Half mile wide crater explored by Opportunity between 2006 and 2008. Contains many "bays" named after landmarks Magellan had seen and dunes. Imaged from space after the rover left and it is believed the rover's tracks can be seen and that it was one of the most magnificent images taken from Mars.
  • Endeavour Crater - Current location for the rover Opportunity. Opportunity has seen its rim a martian year before arriving. Much larger than other craters Opportunity has visited at 22km in diameter. MGS found that it contains clay.

Mars/Craters In the News[]

Water Ice at Bottom of Craters at Sinus Sabaeus Near Equator (Jan 11)[]

See also Sinus Sabaeus, Mars/Water, Mars/Craters