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New Mars Crater Spotted In Before-and-After Pictures 41

The Bad Astronomer (563217) writes "The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted a new crater on the surface of Mars, and, using before-and-after pictures, the impact date has been nailed down to less than a day — it happened on or about March 27, 2012. The crater is 50 meters or so in size, and surrounded by smaller craters that may have been caused by smaller impacts due to the incoming meteoroid breaking up. Several landslides were spotted in the area as well, possibly due to the shock wave of the impact."
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New Mars Crater Spotted In Before-and-After Pictures

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  • Meters? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:34PM (#47071853)

    For those who are metric-impaired, 50 meters equals 1968.5 inches.

    • by Drishmung (458368)
      Or roughly 100 knot seconds.
    • That's like 1/3902 libraries of congress!

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Ah, so about half a football field. Thanks!

    • For those who are metric-impaired, 50 meters equals 1968.5 inches.

      Since we are on the archaic unit bandwagon, thats approx 0.25 furlongs.

      • No no no, it's a typo for "meteors," and "Phillip J" at Yahoo [] says the mean of meteors is about the size of a grain of sand, so grain of sand x 50. Pretty small. I think.

      • by Markvs (17298)

        For those who are metric-impaired, 50 meters equals 1968.5 inches.

        Since we are on the archaic unit bandwagon, thats approx 0.25 furlongs.

        Or about 9.942 rods. Which in my car would cause me to burn 0.00007238095 hogsheads of gasoline.

    • Re:Meters? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Existential Wombat (1701124) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:48PM (#47072097)

      Gas or Electric meters?

    • No. It says "50 or so meters", so that is equal to 1968.50694 ± 40 inches.

      Must be accurate in these things.

      • Actually, 1968.50694 ± 393.700787 inches. The 50m is to one significant figure, so "50 or so" would be 50 ± 10m. (Normally I'd say ± 5, but since 50 is a midpoint in base ten, there may be greater rounding than is strictly standard.)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Aw screw it. As long as we're assuming they have less than 1 digit of precision, let's assume they eyeballed on a log graph with lines at 1,2,5. That means the correct value could be anywhere from sqrt(20*50) to sqrt(50*100) meters, and we can compute the range as 1,244.991204791 to 2,783.884965301 inches, or 2,014.438085046 +/- 769.446880255 inches. :-D

        • by umghhh (965931)
          so the aliens have been bombing mars and now we discuss precision of their meteoring mars so that our united space command can ask for funds to waste them on on not working deflections systems?
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      For those who are metric-impaired, 50 meters equals 1968.5 inches.

      The Man changed the inch after Woodstock? uncool

      • by RockDoctor (15477)
        That would be about the time that it was changed from so-many 37ths of the distance from the Imperial nose to the Imperial right testicle, to 25.4mm. Give or take a stoned hippy's memory deficit.
    • The equivalence is in TFA for those metric-impaired: "At 50 meters or so across, it's half the length of a football field"
  • Curiosity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:49PM (#47071893)

    Anything for Curiousity to see? Dust in the atmosphere? Seismic waves? The top of the meteor slowly unscrewing?

  • by RockDoctor (15477) on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:22AM (#47073357) Journal

    In other words, this crater was spotted less than a day after the impact that formed it!

    It was photographed at less than a day old, but since it's only being reported now, there was probably a period of some days or even weeks between the photos being taken, downloaded to Earth, decoded, and analysed with a before/ after filter. Then follow-up photos with other orbiters, preparing reports etc ... I'd guess that it wasn't much more than a week between the photography and realisation (the actual "spotting") ; but I won't go into philosophical pickiness over whether the "spotting" was done by the before-after comparison algorithm or the human reviewing the list of before-after differences.

    It would be informative (if The Bad Astronomer is reading) to know how many false before-after differences turn up each day or orbit? Tens, hundreds? The origins would be informative too - weather, cosmic ray hits, transient glints off Tripods?

  • by ralphius (1466709) on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:39AM (#47073425)
    Does anybody know how far away this brand new crater is from Curiosity? I would have thought such recently exposed sub-surface rock would have been fascinating for the geologists/scientists controlling the rover to study?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      My guess ... the chances of a random impact they've identified being anywhere near the rovers across an entire planet are probably pretty small.

      Even "close" on these scales would likely be further than the rovers have traveled in the entire time they've been there.

  • This has been going on far too long. Stop the Mars impacts! Join the pro-Mars movement!! No more craters!!!

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182