A meteoroid recently slammed into the side of a hillside on Mars, exploding on impact, destabilising the slope and triggering a long avalanche. The crater only measures about five meters (16 feet) across, but the avalanche left a dark trail of dry dust stretching a full kilometre (0.62 miles) down the side of a slope in a hilly region of the red planet. The image was captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment – HiRISE – aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
A European spacecraft cruising toward Mars fired its main engine, tweaking its trajectory and helping set up for carefully-choreographed simultaneous maneuvers to place part of the tandem mission into orbit around the red planet and deposit a stationary battery-powered lander on the Martian surface.
Observers in the British Isles and Western Europe should look low to the east about an hour before sunrise on Wednesday, 18 October to see the slim crescent of a very old Moon close to the brightest planet, Venus. Mars is also nearby for the keen-eyed among you, but don’t leave it too late or the growing twilight will drown out the Red Planet.