A probe orbiting Mars has captured an interesting sight. There’s an impact crater on the Red Planet that looks like a tree stump. The image was captured by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. The probe studies Mars from above as it orbits the planet. It also collects data from the Red Planet’s minimal atmosphere. Even though the probe’s main purpose is to study Mars, it has a perfect angle to capture pictures of the planet.
This specific image was captured back in June 2021, but it was recently shared. Since then, the image has been turning heads. This crater really looks like a tree stump. The impact crater has a darker ring around the outside, which looks like an outer ring of bark. From the outside, there are concentric rings going towards the middle. They resemble the circles that count how old a tree is. However, these rings don’t mean anything like that for this Mars crater.
What’s In This Tree Stump Crater?
For right now, the only thing we know about this crater is that it’s ice-rich. The ice is made of water, of course. As far as scientists can tell, the ice was deposited on the Red Planet long ago. However, according to Live Science, the rings inside the crater could hold important data. Hopefully, scientists will someday be able to study the rings. They could hold valuable information on the crater itself and could be used to piece together the history of Mars.
They think that the ice settled because of the axis that Mars is on. The planet’s tilt has changed drastically over time, which could lead to ice forming in an interesting shape. On top of that, the cracks in the crater that make the tree stump look are probably caused by the same thing. Overall, scientists think that the steep environmental changes Mars has gone through are to blame for this interesting “tree stump” crater. For starters, the Red Planet has undergone changing seasons and temperatures. That alone could cause the crater to contract and expand, which would result in cracks.
NASA Makes Interesting Mars Discovery
The ESA and Roscosmos aren’t the only space agencies that are finding interesting things on Mars. Recently, NASA has discovered carbon deposits in rocks that could point to signs of life on the Red Planet. At least, that’s what the deposits mean on Earth. They could mean a couple of different things on other planets. Still, it’s fun to wonder if this is finally a sign of extraterrestrial life.
According to scientists, if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be anything major. The carbon deposits could potentially point to methane being consumed by insects that lived on Mars. Bugs probably aren’t what you think when you hear “life on Mars,” but it’s a start.