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Mars surface scarred by 635,000 craters

It seems Mars is a beaten and battered planet in the solar system, as its surface has been pocked by over 635,000 impact craters that are roughly a kilometre or more in diameter, a new study has found.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2012 23:37 IST

It seems Mars is a beaten and battered planet in the solar system, as its surface has been pocked by over 635,000 impact craters that are roughly a kilometre or more in diameter, a new study has found.

Using data gathered by several probes orbiting the Red Planet, researchers have tallied the impacts, at least those that gouged holes 500 meters wide or larger, for a grand total of nearly 635,000 craters.

The new Martian crater atlas, the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon, highlights the violent history of Mars and could help scientists address a number of questions about the planet, researchers said.

“This database is a giant tool that will be helpful in scores of future Mars studies ranging from age-dating and erosion to planetary habitability, and to other applications we have not even thought of yet,” Stuart Robbins of the Colorado varsity was quoted as saying.

“Many of the large impact craters generated hydrothermal systems that could have created unique, habitable environments that lasted for thousands or millions of years, assuming there was water in the planet’s crust,” Brian Hynek, the co-author of the study said.