Scientists have found an almost perfect circular shape on the surface of Mars, and are studying what is inside it

Challenges of exploring Martian lava tubes for human settlements (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UArizona)

he Mars reconnaissance vehicle (MRO), a spacecraft of a pot A specialist in Mars studies, he once again astonished scientists by discovering an interesting formation on the surface of the Red Planet. The spacecraft is equipped with a camera A scientific experiment for high-resolution photography (HiRISE), I took a picture An almost perfect circular well The darkness of the entrance raises multiple questions about what might be inside. Surprise and uncertainty call for specialists.

This image was obtained to determine if there are any core voids and associated faults in the areaIn a statement, HiRISE noted the importance of this discovery.

nickname “The little hole“This hole is only a few meters wide. It lies in a massive shadow Arsia monsa huge shield volcano extending Its diameter is about 434 kilometers And you arrive The hike extends to just over 19 kilometres. This makes it one of the largest planets known so far in the solar system.

A potential network of lava tubes on Mars may be key to future missions (NASA/Handout via Reuters)

This impressive formation has sparked speculation among scientists about its origins and potential usefulness for future human missions. The main premise is this This well could lead to an extensive network of lava tubesunderground channels where molten rock once flowed.

Lava tubes on Mars are of great interest to researchers. The tubes could represent remnants of geological activity on the planet. However, some research suggests that Mars could still have volcanic activity today: if this is confirmed It would radically change perception Science about the planet.

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Additionally, these tubes provide a unique opportunity for the future of human exploration on Mars. Being protected from harsh cosmic radiation and harsh weather conditions, It could serve as a shelter for astronauts.

According to some studies, lava tubes exist on Mars They are much larger than those on EarthWhich opens the possibility of establishing long-term bases within it. These underground formations, also known as skylights, have been previously identified by HiRISE in other regions of Mars.

Comparison of lava tubes on Earth, the Moon and Mars reveals significant differences (ESA)

Despite the enthusiasm it is generating, there is still a long way to go before it is confirmed that it is truly habitable. for now, Rovers -Vehicles designed to travel on Mars- They lack the ability to go down and explore these wells at depth. However, scientists are still studying new techniques to overcome this limitation and be able to further investigate these underground formations.

On Earth, similar formations are found in volcanoes as those found in volcanoes Hawaii. There, these pits, known as pits, They are not connected by long caves or lava tubesBut it is the result of deep collapses in the terrain.

Your researchersn More advanced knowledge of lava tubes on the MoonIt has been determined to be thermally stable and potentially habitable for future human missions.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter takes an image of the formation at Arsia Mons (ESA/DLR/FU BERLIN)

In comparison, Mars presents a much greater challenge. Their weaker gravity allows much larger tubes to formWhich raises interesting hypotheses about their potential as human refuges.

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The mystery of the lava tubes remains. Although they may exist, There is still no conclusive evidence that allows us to take this for granted.. For this reason, scientists are focusing on the “little crater” in Mount Arsia: is this where the key to further research on Mars lies?

Lovell Loxley

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