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Friday, August 27, 2010

Mars crater formation a mystery, says ESA

Orcus Patera is an enigmatic elliptical depression near Mars's equator, in the eastern hemisphere of the planet. Located between the volcanoes of Elysium Mons and Olympus Mons, its formation remains a mystery. More today from the European Space Agency (ESA).

5 comments:

Quantum_Flux said...

I wonder what the elevation contours are, how much dirt and debris was thrown up into the atmosphere, how long did the resulting dust storm last and to what extent was it spread vertically and radially around the planet, how much static electrical lightning activity was generated by the plume and UV radiation, did the planet cool down significantly to have a dry ice age from the sun being blocked out, what sort of explosive erosion results form dry ice sublimating (like global dry ice bombs being planted everywhere!?), etc!?

Quantum_Flux said...

I wonder how many of the perfectly round crators and dust storms on Mars are actually the result of dry ice bombs, dry ice expanding into gas in underground crevaces?

Quantum_Flux said...

....further, I wonder if the compression and then the resublimation of dry ice would make a viable combustion engine or perhaps even rocket fuel source on mars?

Quantum_Flux said...

....oh, I wasn't informed of this fact when I wrote my comment above - Mars Poles mostly Water Ice. It makes sense that the CO2 would sublime off, but at 6 millibars then so too should the water ice as well, hmmmm, although water ice captured underground wouldn't be explosive like dry ice would though, so perhaps Mars surface once was much more explosive from dry ice than it is now, perhaps an exponential decay of dry ice bomb crators throughout Mars history.

At any rate, if there is any subterranian heating then water (with a much different phase diagram than carbon dioxide has) should accumulate in a liquid form.

SpaceHumper said...

I did not major in physics but couldn't this be the result of a high speed angled impact? Could this just be a foreign object impact with a very unique trajectory? Maybe the object had a wide elliptical orbit resulting in a horizontal impact rather than vertical. Very fascinating none the less!