A strange feature has been observed on the surface of Mars: a deep pit, showing as a black spot of darkness in images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The HiRise team at the University of Arizona adjusted the brightness of the image to find out what the black spot was. The mystery area is a pit with a sand floor and slopes down to the southeast, as Futurism detailed:
The scientists behind the discovery are now trying to figure out if the deep pit could be connected to a network of underground tunnels left behind by fast flowing channels of lava — much like the ones found in Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park.
Researchers have long suspected that ancient volcanoes may have left behind large cavernous lava tubes on the surface of Mars. In fact, some of these suspected caverns could be big enough to house entire planetary bases, providing future human settlers protection from the harsh environment on the Martian surface above.
“The hope was to determine if this was an isolated pit, or if it was a skylight into a tunnel, much like skylights in the lava tubes of Hawai’i,” Beyer wrote. “We can’t obviously see any tunnels in the visible walls, but they could be in the other walls that aren’t visible.”
Image via Futurism