Mars’s Largest Meteor Strikes Are Discovered By Two NASA Spacecraft.

Mars's Largest Meteor Strikes Are Discovered By Two NASA Spacecraft

The image published by NASA on October 27, 2022, shows boulder-sized chunks of water ice encircling the lip of an impact crater on Mars. The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this picture. The crater was made on December 24, 2021, when a meteoroid impacted the Amazonis Planitia region. Two NASA spacecraft, one on the surface while the other in orbit, have witnessed the most considerable meteor impacts and impact craters on Mars.

Scientists’ Findings and Reports

The high-speed barrages created craters almost 500 feet (150 meters) in diameter and sent seismic waves surging thousands of miles across Mars, the first ever detected on the surface of another planet, according to research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

The largest of the two strikes churned off boulder-sized slabs of ice, which may aid scientists in their hunt for strategies for future humans to access Mars’ natural riches.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured breathtaking images of the ensuing craters, while the Insight lander monitored the seismic waves.

The ability to connect the seismic ripples with the crater images was a bonus, according to co-author Liliya Posiolova of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. Imaging the craters “would have been massive already.” We were pretty fortunate.

In contrast to Earth, where a thick atmosphere prevents most space rocks from reaching the ground and causing them to break and burn, Mars has a thin atmosphere.

Using information from the same lander and orbiter, further research last month connected a recent string of smaller Martian meteoroid strikes with smaller craters closer to InSight.

The impact observations occur as InSight approaches the conclusion of its mission due to declining power and dust storms covering its solar panels. InSight, which touched down on Mars’ equatorial plains in 2018, has counted more than 1,300 marsquakes.

The principal scientist of the InSight lander, Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who participated in the investigations, stated, “It’s going to be heartbreaking when we ultimately lose communication with InSight.” But the information it provides will keep us occupied for years.

Before the lander’s power runs out, according to Banerdt, it has four to eight more weeks.

According to Posiolova, the inbound space pebbles ranged from 16 to 40 feet (5 to 12 meters). The size of the impacts was roughly 4.

About 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) away from InSight, the largest of the two impacted in December, leaves a crater about 70 feet (21 meters) deep. The orbiter’s sensors captured images of debris launched up to 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the impact and white ice surrounding the crater. Posiolova said it was the most frozen water ever seen at such low latitudes.

Posiolova discovered the crater early this year after obtaining additional photos of the area from orbit. She searched through the archives and determined that the crater was missing from earlier photographs, placing the impact around late December. With assistance from that team, she was able to link the new hole to what was a meteoroid strike since she remembered a significant seismic event that had been captured by InSight around that time. It was easy to see the blast wave.

According to scientists, scientists, the lander and orbiter cooperated for an earlier meteoroid strike, which was slightly smaller and at a greater distance than the one in December.

“Everyone was completely in awe and shock. Still another? Yes, she remembered.


Since Mariner 4’s launch in 1965, several uncrewed spacecraft have investigated Mars. In 1976, the Viking 1 lander of NASA sent back the first pictures taken on Mars. Two nations successfully launched Mars rovers: China in 2021 and the United States in 1997 with Zhurong and Sojourner, respectively. There are also future missions to Mars, such as a Mars sample-return mission scheduled for 2026 and the Rosalind Franklin rover mission, whose launch was scheduled for 2018 but was postponed until at least 2024, with a launch date of 2028 looking more plausible.

Findings Indicate

Seismic signals from the two collisions show that the Martian crust is denser than InSight’s range.

Doyeon Kim of the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, who participated in the study, said that there is still more to learn about the dynamics and internal structure of Mars.

According to outside specialists, future Chinese and European landers will be equipped with even more sophisticated seismometers. Future missions will “create a clearer picture” of how Mars evolved, according to an accompanying editorial by Yingjie Yang and Xiaofei Chen from China’s Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.