Constant asteroid showers destroy previous ideas about the craters of Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — A New Curtin University study has confirmed that the frequency of collisions between impact craters on Mars has been constant over the past 600 million years.

The study analyzed the formation of more than 500 large Martian craters using a crater detection algorithm previously developed at Curtin, which automatically counts visible impact craters in a high-resolution image.

Despite previous research suggesting spikes in the frequency of asteroid impacts, lead researcher Anthony Lagaine of the Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences said his study showed they hadn’t changed much at all over many millions of years.

Counting impact craters on the planet’s surface was the only way to accurately date geological events like canyons, rivers and volcanoes and predict when and how big future impacts will be, Lagaine said.

“On Earth, the erosion of plate tectonics is erasing the history of our planet. Studying planetary bodies in the solar system that still retain their early geological history, such as Mars, helps to understand the evolution of our planet,” said Dr. Lagain.

“The crater detection algorithm gives a complete picture of the formation of impact craters, including their size and number, as well as the time and frequency of impacts with the asteroids that formed them.”

According to Dr. Lagaine, past studies have shown that the time and frequency of asteroid impacts has increased dramatically due to the formation of debris.

“When large bodies collide with each other, they break into pieces or debris, which is believed to affect the formation of impact craters,” Dr. Lagain said. “Our study indicates that it is unlikely that the debris has led to any changes in the formation of impact craters on the surface of the planets.”

Constant asteroid showers destroy previous ideas about the craters of Mars 2

Co-author and leader of the team that created the algorithm, Professor Gretchen Benedix, said the algorithm could also be adapted to work on other planetary surfaces, including the Moon.

“The formation of thousands of lunar craters can now be dated automatically, and the frequency of their formation can be analyzed at higher resolution to investigate their evolution,” said Professor Benedix. “This will provide valuable information that could have practical applications in nature conservation and agriculture in the future, such as forest fire detection and land use classification.”


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