NASA: Large hole might support life on Mars

Space Science

(Photo: NASA, JPL, U. Arizona)

MYSTERY WIRE — To date, life as we know it has not been found on Mars. But NASA says a recently examined image gives them new hope.

High Resolution Imaging Experiment
NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Experiment camera (Photo: NASA)

It was the HiRISE instrument on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that took this image back in 2011. The high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) is one of six science instruments for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

According to NASA, the hole itself is approximately 35 meters wide and up to 20 meters deep. What exactly caused this hole and surrounding formation is actually still up for debate.

The hole is located on the slopes of Mars’ Pavonis Mons volcano. This is a large shield volcano which is the middle of three volcanoes in a line. It is much higher than any volcano, or mountain, on Earth. Pavonis Mons tops out at 8.7 miles tall, or 46,000 feet.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Image: NASA)

NASA says what appears to be a cavern in the hole could would be relatively protected from the harsh surface of Mars, making it a relatively good candidates for life.

In an article posted to the Coast to Coast site, the author speculates even if no life is ever found in the hole, this could serve as a good shelter for further human exploration of the red planet.

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