NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), currently orbiting Mars, snapped this false-colour image of an impact crater and ejecta on the red planet’s surface.
Impact ejecta is material that is thrown up and out of the surface of a planet when a meteorite, asteroid or comet crashes into it. Material that was originally beneath the surface of the planet rains down on the newly formed impact crater.
Some of this material is deposited close to the crater, folding over itself to form the crater rim, visible here as a yellowish ring. Other material is blasted out faster and falls down further from the crater rim creating two types of ejecta: a “continuous ejecta blanket” and “discontinuous ejecta.” Both are shown in this image. The blocky area at the centre of the image close to the yellowish crater rim is the “continuous” ejecta. The discontinuous ejecta is further from the crater rim, streaking away from the crater like spokes on a bicycle.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.