(ORDO NEWS) — A new study by scientists from Curtin University, Australia, confirms that the frequency of asteroid impacts on the surface of the Red Planet has not changed over the past 600 million years.
This study analyzed the formation of more than 500 large Martian craters using a crater detection algorithm previously developed at Curtin University that automatically counts the number of impact craters visible in high-resolution images.
Despite previous studies that have pointed to peaks in the frequency of asteroid impacts on the surface of Mars, the lead author of the new study, Dr. Anthony Lagain, from the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University, said that in fact the frequency of asteroid impacts on the surface Mars has changed only slightly over many millions of years.
Dr. Lagain said counting the number of impact craters on the planet’s surface is the only way to accurately date geological structures such as canyons, rivers and volcanoes and predict when and how major impacts might occur in the future.
“On Earth, plate tectonics is erasing the history of our planet. Studying solar system planetary bodies with early geological history, such as Mars, helps understand the evolution of our own planet,” said Dr. Lagain.
“This crater detection algorithm allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the formation of impact craters, including their size and number, as well as the time intervals in which these craters formed, and the frequency of asteroid impacts on the planet’s surface during these periods.”
According to previous studies, the frequency of crater formation showed peaks attributed to the fall of debris from large impacts, Lagain said.
“When large bodies collide, a lot of fragments are formed, which, as expected, have an impact on the formation of impact craters,” he added.
“Our work shows that the impact of these debris on the formation of impact craters on planetary surfaces is generally negligible.”
Co-author and leader of the team that created this algorithm, Professor Gretchen Benedix (Gretchen Benedix) said that this code can be adapted to study the surfaces of other planets or moons of planets, including the Moon.
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