Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Raining Asteroids Could Threaten Martian Colonists

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Although not as dangerous as the Moon, (as Mars is much larger) future colonists on Mars may need to construct underground bunkers just in case a space rock is headed in their direction.

(Space.com) "If you were to live on Mars for about 20 years, you would live close enough to one of these events to hear it," said researchers Michael Malin, [chief scientist at San Diego, California's Malin Space Science Systems] who led the study. "So there’d be a big boom and you’d know there was an impact crater." [...]

Malin said that it was by chance [Kenneth Edgett, a Malin Space Science Systems researcher] spotted an image with a new crater and recalled a similar view taken years earlier by the MGS orbiter. Their subsequent survey found the new craters, which range in diameter from seven feet (two meters) to 486 feet (148 meters), and an average impact rate of about 12 per year.

Since Mars is the closest world to the asteroid belt, this should not come to a surprise. Future colonists may want to consider taking shelter near a Mons volcano, as they may provide some cover (especially if there is a cave nearby).

However, unless scientists can find a way to thwart these future space rocks, Mars may become known as the "bloody planet".

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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