Washington, June 12: A University of Colorado Boulder research team has recently finished counting, outlining and cataloging a staggering 635,000 impact craters on Mars that are roughly a kilometer or more in diameter.
As the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon in our solar system, the new information will be of help in dating the ages of particular regions of Mars, said CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Stuart Robbins, who led the effort.
The new crater atlas also should help researchers better understand the history of water volcanism on Mars through time, as well as the planet’s potential for past habitability by primitive life, he said.
“This database is a giant tool that will be helpful in scores of future Mars studies ranging from age-dating and erosion to planetary habitability and to other applications we have not even thought of yet,” said Robbins, who is affiliated with CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
“In a sense it’s like building a new and better hammer, which quickly becomes used by everyone,” he added.
A paper on the subject by Robbins and CU-Boulder faculty member Brian Hynek appeared last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. (ANI)