Mars is a beaten and battered planet. Astronomers have actually been peering because that centuries at the violent influence craters created by cosmic buckshot pounding its surface ar over billions the years. However just exactly how beat up is it?

Really to win up, according to a college of Colorado Boulder research team that recently finished counting, outlining and also cataloging a staggering 635,000 affect craters ~ above Mars that are around a kilometer or an ext in diameter.

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As the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon in our solar system, the brand-new information will certainly be of aid in dating the eras of specific regions of Mars, stated CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Stuart Robbins, who led the effort. The new crater atlas likewise should aid researchers far better understand the background of water volcanism top top Mars with time, and also the planet’s potential for previous habitability through primitive life, the said.

A document on the topic by Robbins and also CU-Boulder faculty member Brian Hynek appeared in June 2012 in the Journal that Geophysical study – Planets, a publishing of the American Geophysical Union. A companion research by the two CU researcher was released in a recent issue of the exact same journal. The study was sponsor by NASA’s Mars Data evaluation Program.


Hynek, a LASP research study associate and assistant professor in the geological scientific researches department, claimed knowing an ext about the history and degree of Martian cratering has implications for better understanding the potential for previous life top top Mars. He said:

Many that the big impact craters generated hydrothermal systems that might have developed unique, in your ar habitable environments that lasted because that thousands or numerous years, presume there to be water in the planet’s crust at the time. But large impacts additionally have the capacity to wipe the end life forms, as obvious from earth dinosaur-killing Chicxulub affect 65 million year ago.

Having a far better handle top top the size and also distribution that Martian affect craters also has ramifications for future, manned goals to the planet, said Hynek. NASA wants to understand where the craters are and also their details features both indigenous a safety and also research standpoint. The said:

Craters act as a ‘poor male drill’ that provide new information about the subsurface of Mars.

Cataloging the cratering that Mars and the moon is help scientists know a time a few hundred million year after the within solar device formed, consisting of an event about 3.9 billion years back known as the “Late hefty Bombardment” in i m sorry asteroids as huge as Kansas rained under on Earth. Hynek said:

Although planet has lost most that its geologic record as result of tectonic plate movements and also erosion, knowledge the affect crater background on the moon and also Mars can help us reconstruct our beforehand days.

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Bottom line: A university of Colorado Boulder study team that newly finished counting, outlining and cataloging a staggering 635,000 influence craters ~ above Mars the are roughly a kilometre or much more in diameter. Their record appeared in June 2012 in the Journal the Geophysical research – Planets.