NASA spacecraft observes how the smiley crater changes shape and color due to thermal erosion.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft’s high-rise camera records the depressing change of the smiley face on the surface of Mars. Science Alert Reported January 24th. Two photos taken in late 2011 and 2020 seem to brighten the smiling mouth.
The Highrise operation team said the colors in the two photos were different because the amount of white snow covering the dark red had changed. Some circles also change shape because heat from the sun is produced – here the liquid becomes a direct gas, eliminating the liquefaction phase. This process of thermal erosion widens the part of the mouth of the face and enlarges and merges the nose of the two circles.
The MRO is one of NASA’s longest active space probes. The spacecraft was launched into space in 2005 and landed on Mars in 2006. Since then, MRO has continued to monitor the red planet. Highrise is the most powerful camera ever launched to another planet. It has provided scientists with a number of very detailed photos of Mars, including landslides and robotic exploration.
A major advantage of a long-running spacecraft is the tracking of a target that changes over time. Thanks to MRO and HiRISE, scientists have been able to observe the smiley crater for a decade and directly compare the changes.
“Measuring the changes will help the scientific community learn more about the accumulation and disappearance of polar ice each year, and long-term monitoring of these sites will provide more information about the currency.
തു താവോ (Accordingly Science Alert)