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Why Does that Martian Crater have a Hole?
http://news.discovery.com ^ | Aug. 30, 2011 | by Ian O'Neill

Posted on 09/02/2011 2:41:48 PM PDT by Red Badger

Aug. 30, 2011 -- On the slopes of the vast Martian shield volcano Pavonis Mons, a rather odd-looking crater resides. Originally spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) earlier this year, mission managers decided to zoom in on the suspect feature using the awesome power of the MRO's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. Indeed, as HiRISE has confirmed, this is one very odd-looking crater.

From a distance, the crater appeared to have a black spot in its center, looking almost like the bulls eye on a dartboard. But on closer scrutiny the spot turned out to be the collapsed roof of an underground cavern. Similar features have been seen on Mars and the moon before and are commonly referred to as "skylights." However, this skylight is unique in that it formed at the base of a larger crater.

This Pavonis Mons skylight is approximately 35 meters (115 feet) in diameter, and by using the shadow on the cavern's floor as a guide, HiRISE scientists have estimated that the feature is around 20 meters (65 feet) deep, according to the mission's website.

Skylights often form in volcanic regions where ancient lava flows created subsurface lava tubes. When these lava tubes are evacuated, and tube sides hardened by solidified lava, caverns may form. Should the roofs of these caverns collapse, skylights may form.

These features are often eyed as potential candidates for future manned missions to Mars and the moon as they provide access to naturally-occurring sub-surface caves that astronauts could use as shelter for permanent habitats.

The skylight shown here will likely keep scientists guessing for some time as to how it formed at the base of a crater. Is the crater an ancient impact feature that breached the roof of an underlying cavern? Or is it simply an erosion feature where surface material has slumped and drained into the skylight?

Obviously piquing the interesting of HiRISE scientists, the feature will be revisited during an orbital pass later this year so a second high-resolution photo can be snapped. Combining both photos will create a stereo image, hopefully unraveling what caused this strange feature.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; mars; martianskylights; pavonismons; sourcetitlenoturl
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To: molson209
Underground nuclear testing ? For when they invade earth because of global warming

That does seem like a perfect place for aliens to hide their human destroying invasion fleet if we don't embrace more EPA regulations and a gigantic carbon tax.

21 posted on 09/02/2011 3:15:13 PM PDT by A message
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To: Young Werther
Well finally some real scientific speculation on this thread!
22 posted on 09/02/2011 3:18:12 PM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Rush, Hannity......Nuff said.)
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To: Red Badger
Damn, didn't y'all ever "Invaders From Mars" when you were kids?

That is clearly one of those spots where the sand swirls around and sucks in the unsuspecting to have that probe inserted into their skull.

23 posted on 09/02/2011 3:20:32 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: The Cajun

While I am all for the fanciful thought of the posts above yours, given that we have no proof otherwise this could be where Obambi came from ...

Nuke it.


24 posted on 09/02/2011 3:26:28 PM PDT by Nonsense Unlimited
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To: Red Badger
I dunno. Why did Ron Brown have a hole in his head?
25 posted on 09/02/2011 3:34:11 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all......)
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To: doorgunner69

Invaders from Mars, War of the Worlds et all were super dooper 50’s Sci fI!


26 posted on 09/02/2011 3:35:56 PM PDT by Young Werther (Julius Caesar said "Quae cum ita sunt. Since these things are so.".)
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To: Red Badger; KevinDavis; SunkenCiv

maybe it broke through to a cave underneath? There are known to be lavatube-type caves all around Olympus Mons after all


27 posted on 09/02/2011 3:36:55 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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To: Graewoulf

“The light appears to come from the upper right to the lower left of the image.”

Um... your monitor is upside down.


28 posted on 09/02/2011 3:37:56 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter Hobbit)
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To: doorgunner69

That’s exactly what it looks like!!!


29 posted on 09/02/2011 3:42:59 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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To: Red Badger

It is nothing but one big mushroom. Yummy.


30 posted on 09/02/2011 3:43:29 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Red Badger

My guess is a massive explosion turing the crater into a glass like funnel. Fluid erosion ate away at the softer material under the glass funnel leaving a void. Must have had a very wet surface at one time.


31 posted on 09/02/2011 3:43:45 PM PDT by trailboss800
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To: RowdyFFC

You are correct. Shakespeare´s Macbeth has the answer.


32 posted on 09/02/2011 3:47:34 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Red Badger

Oh man, I could see millions of muslims marching and chanting around that thing


33 posted on 09/02/2011 3:55:51 PM PDT by silverleaf (Common sense is not so common - Voltaire)
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To: GeronL; 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; ...

Thanks GeronL. The impact that caused the crater produced enough heat to melt / evaporate the chunk of ice under that part of the Martian surface, leaving only the hole. It's too bad we can't all go ATV-ing across Mars, really. :')


34 posted on 09/02/2011 4:44:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Thanks . The brand-spankin' new martianskylights keyword:
35 posted on 09/02/2011 4:52:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Red Badger

Good heavens, that telescope could see if my car were parked in my driveway on Mars.


36 posted on 09/02/2011 4:55:39 PM PDT by Technocrat
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To: silverleaf

First, you haveta get ‘em to Mars.......


37 posted on 09/02/2011 5:27:02 PM PDT by Red Badger ("Treason doth never prosper.... What's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.")
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To: Technocrat

If you’re leaving it parked on Mars all the time, you’re just asking for trouble.


38 posted on 09/02/2011 5:27:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

ping


39 posted on 09/02/2011 7:08:14 PM PDT by Craftmore
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To: Red Badger

That’s where the locals hid those missing landers.


40 posted on 09/02/2011 7:46:18 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (O-blame-r)
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