Snapshot: Martian string of craters

ESA captures a trio of impact craters.
By | Published: October 4, 2021 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

Unlike Earth, the surface of Mars is rife with large, obvi- ous impact craters. Estimates point to at least a quarter of a million such craters on the Red Planet. And with no plate tectonics, imperfections on Mars stick around for a lot longer than they do here on Earth.

This orderly collection of craters sits in Mars’ Lunae Planum, known for its rough terrain. Large lava deposits fill the region, likely spewed from the nearby Tharsis Montes volcanic region. The youngest volcanoes located there were last active as recently as a few million years ago. Some research even suggests the area may just be dormant for now and could erupt again in the future. The triplet of craters in this picture, taken by the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System camera on the European Space Agency and Roscosmos’ ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, even bear evidence of the serial lava flows on their inner rims.