A fresh crater in the red planet’s southern ice cap

Sometime between July and September 2018, a meteoroid slammed into the seasonal southern ice cap on Mars, punching through a thin layer of ice and blasting out dark, sub-surface sand in all directions. The larger white pattern surrounding the newly formed crater may have been caused by winds scouring the surface from the impact shock wave. The darker material was excavated from below the surface when the impactor penetrated the ice cover.

A newly formed impact crater near the South Pole of Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The image was captured by the HiRISE camera, built by Ball Aerospace and operated by the University of Arizona, aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image below shows the crater in context (click for a zoomed-in view; north is up).

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona