According to the European Space Agency (ESA), if a tree’s concentric rings can provide us with comprehensive data about the Earth’s climate history, similarly the marking inside the crater explicate the past climate of the red planet.
Last year, the image was captured by the camera aboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a space probe put into orbit by ESA and the space agency of Russia Roscosmos, that landed on Mars in 2016 and started its job in 2018.
Acidalia Planitia, an area on Mars in the vast northern plains, is where the crater in the image was located. It is where Mark Watney, a fictional astronaut character, was trapped in the novel and movie “The Martian.”
Scientists are in continuous discussions on the likelihood that the northern plains once held a huge ocean or other bodies of water, prospectively covered with ice.
The crater’s interior is loaded with deposits that probably hold ice, ESA said.
In a statement issued the previous week, ESA noted, “It is thought that these deposits were laid down during an earlier time in Mars’ history when the inclination of the planet’s spin axis allowed water-ice deposits to form at lower latitudes than it does today.”
“Just like on Earth, Mars’ tilt gives rise to seasons, but unlike Earth, its tilt has changed dramatically over long periods of time,” ESA added.
Fractures shaped like polygons and semicircles in the crater are probably an effect of seasonal changes in temperature that bring about the ice-rich material to dilate and contract, causing the cracks eventually.
Besides capturing images of the red planet, the orbiter is categorizing gasses in the atmosphere of Mars and plotting the surface to find areas rich in water. This will aid scientists taking a closer look at the history of water on Mars and let them know whether it once enabled life to thrive.
ESA said that the mission’s second part will begin in 2023, when a new rover will journey to an area in Mars believed to have once hosted an age-old ocean and navigate underground for signs of life.
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