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California seventh-graders spot possible lava tube skylight on Mars 24 June 2010

Posted by admin in Mars, solar system.
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There’s no scale with the NASA/JPL image of the Martian surface on the left, but the black dot inside the red square is a large hole in the surface of Mars, about 190 x 160 metres in size and about 115 metres deep. It is situated on the slopes of Pavonis Mons, a volcano in the equatorial region of Mars, and may well be a skylight – an opening in the roof of a lava tube created during past volcanic activity (more on Martian lava tube caves here). It was spotted by a group of seventh-grade science students at Evergreen Middle School, Cottonwood, California, who have been taking part in the Mars Student Imaging Project run by NASA and Arizona State University. ‘The Mars Student Imaging Program is certainly one of the greatest educational programs ever developed’, says the students’ science teacher, Dennis Mitchell. ‘It gives the students a good understanding of the way research is conducted and how that research can be important for the scientific community. This has been a wonderful experience’.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU.

7th-graders discover mysterious cave on Mars – MSNBC, 21 June 2010
Mars cave opening found by 7th graders – CBS News, 22 June 2010
Teen project one-ups NASA, finds hole in Mars cave – AFP, 23 June 2010

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