The crazy looking crater on the mars has even bigger smile than it was 10 years ago. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission have featured the two images showing the surface of mars changing over time due to thermal erosion. These images were taken with the help of HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera.
Both the images were captured during the same season with the first one was captured in 2011 and the second one was in December 2020. Both the images show slight changes like color variation due to number of small ice crystals on the dark red ground.
You will also notice some of the vague features that have changes shape because of heat causing conversion of solid into gas avoiding the liquid phase. Due to this kind of thermal erosion the mouth of the face becomes bit larger and the two circular depression nose which was captured in 2011 has also grown bit larger and got merged.
Talking about MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), it is one of the oldest spacecraft of NASA which was launched in 2005 and landed on mars in 2006. It has been observing the mars ever since with the help of HiRISE camera the powerful and high resolution camera that has ever sent to space till now which has given plenty of comprehensive images of mars. Some of the features of mars provided with the detailed images are dark flows that may or may not be briny material seeping to the surface, images of their own spacecraft’s and rovers on the mars surface, avalanches and many other.
The main advantage of the oldest and long lasting spacecraft is it can capture the changes that has happened in their former observations. The HiRISE team has been observing the Happy Crater Face for over a decade which simply means that we have the good comparison data of the surface change.
Computing these kind of data helps the scientists to understand the changes throughout the year on mars and also the annual deposition and polar frost removal. This long periods observation helps us in understanding the longer term climate on red planet.