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CRATERS ON MARS:NAMED AFTER GEOPHYSICIST AND TOWNS



  Jun 18, 2024

CRATERS ON MARS:NAMED AFTER GEOPHYSICIST AND TOWNS



Scientists from Ahmedabad’s Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) have discovered three new craters on Mars, named to honor the institute and two towns in India. These craters are named Lal, Mursan, and Hilsa. Lal Crater is named after the renowned Indian geophysicist and former PRL director Devendra Lal, while Mursan and Hilsa are named after towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively.

The naming of these craters was approved by the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) on June 5. The craters are located in the Tharsis volcanic region of Mars, a significant volcanic plateau near the equator in the planet’s western hemisphere.

Details of the Craters:

• Lal Crater: The largest of the three, spanning 65 kilometers in width.

• Mursan and Hilsa Craters: Both approximately 10 kilometers wide, situated on the eastern and western sides of Lal Crater’s rim.

The region of Lal Crater is primarily covered with lava, but geophysical evidence indicates the presence of sedimentary deposits, suggesting past water activity. This discovery supports the theory that Mars once had significant water flow on its surface.

Historical Context of Martian Crater Naming

This is not the first time Indian scientists have named Martian craters. Previous craters such as Poona, Lonar, and Kakori have also been named after Indian locations. According to international naming conventions, craters less than 60 kilometers in diameter are named after towns with populations under 100,000. Once approved by the WGPSN, these names become official and are used in scientific maps and publications.

Mars is home to numerous craters, with NASA estimating over 43,000 impact craters larger than 5 kilometers in diameter. The largest known crater, Hellas Planitia, measures about 2,250 kilometers in diameter and is located in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

Conclusion

The naming of these craters highlights the significant contributions of Indian scientists to planetary science. It also emphasizes the ongoing research and discoveries that continue to shed light on the history and geology of Mars.



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