Huge hole in Mars

 Apod Image 1207 Marshole2 Hirise 2560

This "hole in Mars," imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is an opening into an underground cave. The hole is approximately 35 meters across. NASA reports, "Holes such as this are of particular interest because their interior caves are relatively protected from the harsh surface of Mars, making them relatively good candidates to contain Martian life."


      1. “Hmm.”
        “What do you think, three wood?””Well, you’ll have to achieve orbital velocity. So… driver?”

        1. Nah, since that’s an impossible shot, I’ll take it with an impossible club. Two impossibles should make a possible right?

          “Caddy, hand me my 1 iron”

  1. It is much easier to visualise the topography if the image is spun 180 degrees. It looks like a pimple otherwise (to me).

    The stuff that looks like snow covering pretty much the whole surface – what is it? Snow?

    1. Well, it didn’t until you mentioned it. Now I can only see it popping out as you describe.

      It’s dust… but don’t think dusty/gritty like Tucson. Martian dust is ground so fine that it’s a very serious health concern for an eventual human mission.

    2.  Snow… yes. That is exactly what it is. As you may or may not know (but will know for sure now), both polar caps on Mars are snow covered. They hold a significant amount of Water (in frozen state) as well as possible subterranean lakes and oxygen.

      1. On STNG they would talk about “subterranean caves.” There must be something about the word cave that seems a bit lacking, so that it keeps picking up unnecessary modifiers. I think it’s just a habit.

        1. I guess the modifiers are there to specify whether it’s a horisontal or a vertical progressing kind of cave, like a hole in the ground or a hole in the side of a mountain. But yeah, it does seem a tad bit silly.

  2. “…good candidates to contain Martian life.”

    I hope whoever lives there puts up a sign that reads: “KEEP OUT! MY MARS HOLE!”

  3.  Maybe opposed to a sea cave? I rather like the idea of a sea cave on Mars, barren and dark, the thin wind of a dust storm howling and whistling through the stone… just there at the shore of an aeons-dry ocean. (I think Bradbury would approve…)

  4. I was wondering just where this was on Pavonis Mons.

    In Google Mars, I see a spot at
    0 40.933 N 113 23.523 W
    That could be it, but maybe not.

  5. Am I the only Minecraft freak who saw this and thought of how awesome that would be to explore?  I bet there would be lava and diamonds down that far!

  6. Zapp: Behold: The Great Stone Face of Mars.

    Fry: Hm.

    Zapp: The only known entrance to the Martian reservation.

    Leela: What about the Great Stone Ass of Mars?

    Zapp: Well, yeah, but it’s way over the other side of the planet.

  7. I knew it – Mars DOES have a quantum black hole inside, eating it away … just ask Larry Niven.

    1.  I’m still having trouble spotting it.    Is it on the Italy-shaped mesa?

      Or is it on the next (larger) mesa down, the one that has two giant sperm swimming to the southwest (Pardon, I don’t know how else to describe those).

  8. I guess there can be caves  that are created by piles of rock slabs and rubble, which are not created by the action of water on bedrock like a true cave.  in some cases these would be visibly “above ground.”

    As a child there was a state park with a large outcropping that had been left freestanding when the road cut through the should of the hill.  It had a “cave” about 12′ long open at both ends a child could squirm through.  Years later I went back and there was a parking lot there.

  9. It seems like Mars is full of these bubbles. The ones that have been found have caved-in ceilings, but how many more are intact? Are there connecting tunnels? It’s exciting to imagine these contain ancient underground cities. These could be ideal places to build bases or colonies. Bring on the ground-penetrating radar!

    It looks like something existed underground which flowed away and left a void. Lava, perhaps, carbon dioxide, or maybe even water. It could be that a meteor punctured the top crust and exposed an ice pocket, which sublimated afterwards. Perhaps it had been like those Antarctic lakes and held a liquid garden full of life safe from the rest of the planet for millions of years.

    There seems to be a difference in the upper dozen meters of ground as shown by the concentric ring within the crater’s rim. I have read that there is evidence that parts of Mars is covered by ice sheets that are covered over with insulating dust. I wonder if  we’re seeing a deep layer of ice that has been dusted over after a period of outgassing.

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