(ORDO NEWS) — The strange triplet was spotted near the planet’s southern hemisphere, in an area known as “Noah’s Land.” Scientists believe that about four billion years ago, this region was subjected to massive asteroid bombardment, resulting in the many craters observed today.
The fact that the craters of Noah’s Land are so old makes them especially interesting for scientists, as their study can reveal the secrets of the history and evolution of the Red Planet.
The triple crater lies east of the larger, well-known Le Verrier crater, which is about 140 kilometers in diameter. By comparison, the largest of the three “rings” is only 45 kilometers in diameter.
Scientists speculate that the triple crater may have been left by an asteroid that split into three parts before crashing to the surface. Another, less likely explanation might be that three separate asteroids fell in almost the same place.
If the asteroid really split before contact with the surface, then this leads to a very curious conclusion: the ancient atmosphere of Mars was much denser than it is now, which gave it the ability to break a large object into three parts.
Ancient water world
The discovery of specific craters indirectly suggests that early Mars may have been more humid and warmer than we previously thought. This is consistent with numerous studies indicating that Mars was once covered by rivers, lakes and seas.
The craters found are shallow, likely due to the movement of subsurface ice over millions of years. This tended to soften the soil and ultimately smooth out any deep “dents”.
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