Inside Mars: Take a Peek Into Martian Pits in Stunning New Images From the Red Planet

What lies inside these strange openings on Mars remains a mystery. 

Here’s your chance to peek inside strange pits on the surface of Mars. The cave-in roof of what experts believe is a lava tube has been tagged by scientists as a perfect place for human explorations of the Red Planet.

Have you ever wanted to peek inside deep, mysterious pits on the surface of Mars?

Astronomers using the HiRISE instrument onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have snapped unprecedented views of Martian pits.

The new, never-before-seen images show a different side of Mars, then what we are accustomed to seeing.

While orbiting the red planet at an altitude of around 260 kilometers (160 miles) above the surface, the HiRISE instrument can detect objects the size of less than a meter in diameter.

A dark pit on Mars and an enhanced version. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
A dark pit on Mars and an enhanced version. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

Besides that, it can also peak inside some of Mars’ most enigmatic surface features, strange, cave-like openings that scattered across the surface.

Ross Beyer MRO team member revealed on HiRISE’s website that the instrument is sensitive enough to actually see things in what is otherwise a very dark Martian pit.

“Since HiRISE turned by almost 30 degrees to capture this image, we can see the rough eastern wall of the pit. The floor of the pit appears to be smooth sand and slopes down to the southeast,” Beyer wrote.

Beyer further explained that they performed special maneuvers to snap the images in the hope they would help to determine whether this was an isolated pit, or whether it was a skylight into a tunnel, similar to the skylights we have here on Earth, for example in Hawaii.

An image of a possible cave entrance in Mars' Arsia Mons region. The image was taken in 2007. Image Credit: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory / University of Arizona.
An image of a possible cave entrance in Mars’ Arsia Mons region. The image was taken in 2007. Image Credit: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory / University of Arizona.

The images revealed that no tunnels were seen in the visible walls. Scientists have further ruled out that there could be tunnels in the walls that are not visible in the images.

“We can’t obviously see any tunnels in the visible walls, but they could be in the other walls that aren’t visible,” Beyer wrote.

The images are evidence of just how fascinating Martian dark pits really are. The new images fuel the mysteries and possibilities of what may lie inside them.

What if there is more than meets the eye? Is there something else inside them? Would such a Martian structure be a good place where future Human explorers could set up bases? These opening son, the Martian surface could provide perfect shelter from Mars’ current harsh environment.

To see whether or not such pits could be used by future manned missions, it would be a good idea to have future robotic missions approach the structure and study them up close.

The images snapped by HiRISE are located not far from the Tharsis volcanic rise, one massive area on the red planet that includes the three most famous and large volcanoes on Mars: Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons.

What lies beneath these striking Martian Features? For now, that’ll have to remain another Mars mystery waiting to be revealed. Check out more HiRISE images here.

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