The MRO Context camera team noticed a dark spot in an image taken in August 2010 that was not present in a Mars Odyssey THEMIS image taken in December 2007.
The team therefore requested a full-resolution HiRISE image of the dark spot to determine whether it was caused by an impact. Indeed, the HiRISE image shows an approximately 7-meter diameter fresh crater and dark ejecta blanket at this location. These small impact craters continue to form on Mars, and are most easily recognized in areas covered by bright dust.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.
Originally released Oct. 6, 2010