Lowell (Martian crater)
The crater Lowell, exhibiting frost deposits on its floor.
The crater was named after Percival Lowell who build the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona in 1894. He used the observatory to discover over 500 canals on Mars. Lowell promoted the idea that they were constructed by an intelligent race. However, when pictures were received from spacecraft, the canals were found to be illusions. Nevertheless, much of the later interest in Mars exploration resulted from the efforts of Percival Lowell.
Lowell crater northeast rim, as seen by HiRISE. Crater floor is toward the bottom of picture.
Mosaic of Viking Orbiter images, with Lowell at right
Sand dunes in Lowell Crater, as seen by CTX camera (on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter).
Why are Craters important?
The density of impact craters is used to determine the surface ages of Mars and other solar system bodies. The older the surface, the more craters present. Crater shapes can reveal the presence of ground ice.
The area around craters may be rich in minerals. On Mars, heat from the impact melts ice in the ground. Water from the melting ice dissolves minerals, and then deposits them in cracks or faults that were produced with the impact. This process, called hydrothermal alteration, is a major way in which ore deposits are produced. The area around Martian craters may be rich in useful ores for the future colonization of Mars.
- Planetary nomenclature
- Impact crater
- List of craters on Mars
- Slipher Crater (Martian Crater)
- Coblentz Crater
- "Lowell (Martian crater)". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.
- Glasstone, S. 1968. The Book of Mars. NASA. Washington D.C.
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