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NASA finds mysterious holes and suggests using them as shelters on Mars

NASA finds mysterious holes and suggests using them as shelters on Mars

NASA has found interesting holes in the volcanic regions of Mars and now wants to know if they can accommodate astronauts who land there in the future

Some holes on the surface of Mars have appeared in images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) satellite, NASA. Now scientists want to know what’s inside and how to use them in future missions. One possibility is that these are underground pipes that could serve as a refuge for humans on Earth, future colonizers on the Red Planet.

The photo from the HiRISE camera, on board the MRO, shows a well a few meters in diameter in the region of Arsia Mons, one of the three dormant Martian volcanoes of the Tharsis Montes group. The region is thousands of kilometers in diameter and lies about 10 km above the planet’s average elevation.

Volcanic activity on Mars

These volcanoes have already had their glory days, leaving clear traces of their activity to this day. Among these are pit-like openings that are likely underground lava channels.

However, scientists are still not sure what they really are. Therefore, the MRO collected images of some specimens. One of them, for example, reveals a possible illuminated side wall similar to that of a well.

Well near Arsia Mons photographed on two separate occasions (Image: Reproduction/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Collapse underground

Another possibility being considered is that the holes are craters like those found in Hawaiian volcanoes. They begin to form through underground collapses that slowly extend upward as rocks begin to fall into the open cracks.

If this were the case, the holes may not be as useful for astronauts who will set foot on Martian soil in the future to protect themselves from solar radiation. If, however, they are underground lava channels, the colonizers will be able to take refuge there in case of need.

Since Mars is no longer a volcanically active planet, the canals today must be just that, tunnels of very solid and safe igneous rock. If they have resisted the collapse of the ground until now, they must be deep and robust enough not to collapse.

Source: Universe today

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