New Image of Mars Reveals a Crater Eerily Similar to a Huge

A stunning picture captured by a spaceship circling Mars might induce Lovecraftian nightmares.

A massive, city-sized, unnamed crater gapes on the surface of Mars well below the camera of ESA's Mars Express, streaks of black material making it look like a gigantic eye staring up to the stars. However, the image's objective isn't to give you the creeps; satellite imaging may help us better comprehend Mars' geology and history.

The crater, which is 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) large, is located in the Aonia Terra area of Mars' southern hemisphere. It's deeply cratered, and the topic of the new Mars Express photographs is far from the largest or most striking; it's not far from the 200-kilometer-wide Lowell Crater.

Massive impacts are assumed to have carved out Lowell and many of the craters in the area about 4 billion years ago, during a destructive phase of the early Solar System known as the Late Heavy Bombardment.

Earth, too, was blasted, a process that is considered to have seeded the young planet with water and organic compounds, but atmospheric and seismic processes have wiped much of the evidence from the surface of our world.

The data survives on Mars, which is barren and geologically much quieter, providing us with a tool for comprehending more chaotic periods in the Solar System's past.

Aonia Terra and other regions on Mars can also give information about the planet's makeup. A forceful impact exposes material that would normally be concealed under the surface, resulting in novel geologies and compositions on the surface. The surface composition of the region depicted in the new photograph appears to be diverse and variable.

The nameless eye crater is located in topography hollowed out by channels, which were most likely formed billions of years ago by rivers of liquid water flowing across the surface. Traces of darker material may be observed in these channels, and some of them appear to be elevated – possibly as a consequence of erosion-resistant material settling in dried-up riverbeds and surviving even after the river's banks are swept away by strong winds.

The terrain south of the crater has smaller craters and flat-topped buttes, whilst the zone north of the crater is smoother and paler in color.

Darker material, in the shape of a murky, undulating dune, may also be seen near the crater's core. Conical mounds and buttes may also be observed in the crater, indicating that it serves as a form of catchment for materials.

Closer inspections and a larger array of equipment may disclose more precise information about the crater and its surrounds, but what we can learn even from photographs taken at such a distance is astounding. The High Resolution Stereo Camera records not only the colors of minerals, but also the height of features, resulting in a comprehensive dataset on Mars' surface.

And, just in case you're still concerned, none of those facts point to any eyeballs on Mars. That isn't to say there aren't some... Is the crimson nothingness staring back at you as you look into it?