Feb 15, 2019 | Updated: 07:59 AM EST

Mars' 400-million-year Lull Discovered By Researchers

Apr 27, 2017 04:04 AM EDT


Scientists' recent study has discovered Mars' millions-year-old lull in large impacts in the Martian history. From the early days of the solar system, the collisions between astronomical objects have contributed to the evolution of the planets.

Scientists from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona specializing in early bombardment history have discovered a 400-million lull in large impacts on Mars. In the study published in Nature Geoscience, in a paper titled "A Post-Accretionary Lull in Large Impacts on Early Mars, Dr. Bill Bottle, the lead author of the paper, said that the discovery adds credence to the controversial theory of Mars' large impacts.

"The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury," Bottke said. Bottke also serves as the principal investigator of the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets inside NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute.

"We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment," he said. Bottke added the lull itself is an important period in distinguishing the evolution of Mars and other planets, as they would like to refer this as "doldrums". 

The new discovery also shows the surprising bombardment history of the red planet. The giant impact carved out the northern lowlands of Mars 4.5 million years ago was followed by a lull of approximately 400 million years. According to Phys, Another period of bombardment has produced giant impact basins between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago.

These impacts have developed the first wave associated with the formation of the inner planets. It was followed by a second wave of strikes on Mars' surface later.

The paper that focused on Mars' lull was also co-authored by Jeff Andrews-Hanna. He is from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

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