An ancient, five kilometer wide frozen crater was captured by NASA's HiRISE camera mounted on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). In orbit around Mars for the last ten years, the MRO is capable of resolving photographs of the surface of Mars down to a meter or so.
The northern crater it captured is surrounded by a ring of hills, the rim of the crater, and the shattered pattern we see in the image was caused by repeated freeze-thaw cycles in the ice.
The HiRise team describes it as "the crater rim constrains the polygon formation within the crater close to the rim, creating a spoke and ring pattern of cracks. This leads to more rectangular polygons than those near the center of the crater. The polygons close to the center of the crater display a more typical pattern. A closer look shows some of these central polygons, which have smaller polygons within them, and smaller polygons within those smaller polygons, which makes for a natural fractal!"
Mars has many unique individual features which the MRO has captured, astonishing vistas of the red planet.
images credit: NASA/JPL/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
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