NASA releases photo of mysterious hole on Mars that could hold clue to life on Red Planet
Martian pits appear to be “relatively good candidates” to contain life as they have interior caves that remain “relatively protected” from the planet’s harsh surface, NASA said in its blog.
Mars never ceases to push the boundaries of human imagination - one of the reasons why efforts to get a closer look of the Red Planet has been indefatigable. A photo of an unusual hole on the planet, which was discovered in 2011, was recently posted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The image depicts the dusty slopes of Mars’ Pavonis Mons volcano. The image was taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which currently circles the planet.
Interestingly, such Martian pits appear to be “relatively good candidates” to contain life as they have interior caves that remain “relatively protected” from the planet’s harsh surface, NASA said in its blog earlier this week.
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“These holes are therefore prime targets for possible future spacecraft, robots, and even human interplanetary explorers,” read the blog which was published on March 1.
The image suggests the hole to be an opening about 35 meters across to an underground cavern which is estimated to be around 20 meters deep.
While the full extent of the crater is being studied, experts speculate why is there a circular crater surrounding this hole.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and has a very thin atmosphere. It is also one of the most explored in the solar system.
The environment of the Red Planet is characterised as dusty and cold, almost desert-like. Explorers have found out that billions of years ago, the planet was much wetter, warmer with the denser atmosphere.
While India and the European Space Agency (ESA) have their spacecraft in orbit above Mars, NASA has three spacecraft in orbit, one rover and one lander on the Martian surface.