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New Mars Crater Spotted In Before-and-After Pictures

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the take-another-look dept.

Mars 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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Meters? (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47071853)

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

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47071901)

And for those who are math-impaired, 164.042 feet.

Re:Meters? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47072049)

Or about a half-acre, give or take.

Re:Meters? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47072385)

Thank you, Ted, that was the joke.

Re:Meters? (1)

Drishmung (458368) | about 5 months ago | (#47071921)

Or roughly 100 knot seconds.

Re:Meters? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47071923)

That's like 1/3902 libraries of congress!

Re:Meters? (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 5 months ago | (#47072075)

Ah, so about half a football field. Thanks!

Re: Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072293)

Give or take a Congressman ...

Re:Meters? (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 5 months ago | (#47072081)

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.

Re:Meters? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 5 months ago | (#47072103)

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

Re:Meters? (1)

Markvs (17298) | about 5 months ago | (#47075945)

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? (3, Funny)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | about 5 months ago | (#47072097)

Gas or Electric meters?

Re:Meters? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47072263)

Gas or Electric meters?

Pull my finger for the answer

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072397)

*pulls and waits patiently*

Re:Meters? (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 months ago | (#47072753)

You, sir, have doomed us all.

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073065)

50 metres. The spelling of the official SI unit is "metre", not "meter" in every country but the US.

Re:Meters? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47074315)

It's 50 mètres to be exact.

Re:Meters? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 5 months ago | (#47072123)

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

Must be accurate in these things.

Re:Meters? (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 5 months ago | (#47072447)

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.)

Re:Meters? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072535)

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

Re:Meters? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 5 months ago | (#47072643)

Nice calculation. Thanks.

Re:Meters? (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 5 months ago | (#47072611)

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?

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072731)

50 is 2 significant digits.

5 x 10^1 is 1 significant digit

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072249)

Use the most appropriate scale for the thing being measured. Scientist do that all the time.

Since 99% of the human population lives between 0F and 100F, that scale makes sense when dealing with humans. People aren't frozen or boiling water so using a scale that ranges from -18 to 37 doesn't make any sense.

Additionally, after a certain point, it doesn't matter if it's 465000 miles or 465000 kilometers -- it's a really big distance and you can't really rationalize it when thinking so keep your brain young and convert if you have to.

Re:Meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47105117)

I grew up using Fahrenheit, but have lived in metric countries for the past several years, and I really think Celsius is superior even in daily life. People themselves may not (hopefully) ever experience being frozen or boiled, but boiling and freezing water are encountered in daily life all the time, particular when it comes to cooking.

As to measuring air temperature, I never find any reason to convert to Fahrenheit to know what the weather is like:
0 degrees and below --> Literally freezing; snowball fight!
10 degrees --> It's fairly cold; wear a sweater
20 degrees --> It's reasonably pleasant
30 degrees --> It's getting pretty hot; wear short sleeves
40 degrees --> It's effin' hot
50 degrees and above --> You are about to die

Basically, you can just think of air temperature as a six-level scale, with finer gradients in between. Pretty simple.

Re:Meters? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47072257)

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

The Man changed the inch after Woodstock? uncool

Re:Meters? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47073293)

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.

Meters? (1)

Toutatis (652446) | about 5 months ago | (#47072401)

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 (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#47071893)

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

Re:Curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47071979)

Only if it's cylindrical.

Re:Curiosity (1)

lfourrier (209630) | about 5 months ago | (#47072747)

Curiosity killed the cat

Re:Curiosity (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47073303)

The cat should have listened to it's dam when she was teaching it the Green Cross Code : "Look left, then right, then left again!"

Re:Curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074643)

Poor microbes out of luck.

inform4ative FagorzFagorz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47072141)

Re:inform4ative FagorzFagorz (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#47072271)

Goatse? No, that's Uranus craters.

Being picky ; photographed != "spotted" (5, Informative)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#47073357)

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?

Distance from Curiosity (3, Interesting)

ralphius (1466709) | about 5 months ago | (#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?

Re:Distance from Curiosity (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47074531)

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.

at last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073691)

Beagle has landed!

This is bad (1)

wywh (2849275) | about 5 months ago | (#47075605)

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

Seismometer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47078747)

Is there a seismometer on any of the rovers? Perhaps internal gyroscopes are recording data that could be used to provide addtl detail.

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