Blast from the (Very Recent) Past
Blast from the (Very Recent) Past
PSP_004030_1855  Science Theme: Impact Processes
In the center of this image is a very sharp-rimmed impact crater just 35 meters wide. It lies in a bright, dust-covered region, but is surrounded by a slightly darker spot about three kilometers wide. The impact event created a blast of high winds that disturbed the dust and darkened the spot.

Since dust is constantly settling over the region, the fact that we can still see the dark region means the impact event occurred of late, perhaps in recent decades. There are many dark streaks on topographic slopes over an even wider region surrounding the dark spot--these could be due to dust avalanches triggered by the impact, either from the air blast or from seismic shaking of the ground.

There are also rays of very small (approximately one meter in diameter) secondary craters extending radially outward from the 35 meter crater, created by the impact of rocks ejected from the main crater. Thus a small impact crater has modified the surface over an area more then 10,000 times greater than that of the crater's interior.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (27 June 2007)
Acquisition date
06 June 2007

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
269.5 km (167.5 miles)

Original image scale range
27.2 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
55°, with the Sun about 35° above the horizon

Solar longitude
252.3°, Northern Autumn

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  330.8°
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Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.