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sâmbătă, 4 august 2012

Double impact crater seen on Mars

PARIS, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A spacecraft orbiting Mars captured images of interconnected impact craters astronomers say were formed by a single object that split in two just before impact.

The overlapping craters dubbed Sigli and Shambe, photographed by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, are located in an area of the Red Planet dubbed the Ladon Basin, an ESA release said Thursday.

The two impacts have formed an elliptical crater, often seen when asteroids or comets strike the surface of the planet at a shallow angle, scientists said.

A fluidized ejecta pattern of material surrounding the double crater suggests the presence of subsurface ice that melted during the impact, they said.

The Ladon region, imaged on 27 April by the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express, is of great interest as it also shows significant signs of ancient lakes and rivers, astronomers said.

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