NASA sheds light on incredible super bowls in our solar system

On the day of America’s most-watched sporting event, NASA got on a pun and published an article highlighting “10 awe-inspiring bowl-shaped sights that grace the worlds of our solar system” .

Mars Stickney Crater. NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The list includes the extraordinary Stickney Crater on Phobos, one of the two moons of Mars.

It is about 10 km in diameter and even has a smaller crater inside.

In keeping with the Super Bowl theme, NASA’s Amanda Barnett writes, “Note that if the average speed of an NFL pitch is 50-60 mph and Phobos’ escape speed is 25 mph, then it is conceivable that a professional quarterback could throw a ball right next to Phobos and orbiting Mars.

Occator crater of Ceres.
Occator crater on Ceres. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Located between Mars and Jupiter, the small dwarf planet of Ceres shelters Occator Crater, an impact site 57 miles (92 km) in diameter and 2.5 miles (4 km) deep. The crater is Ceres’ brightest spot, a feature resulting from its highly reflective salt deposits.

Jezero crater of Mars.
Jezero crater of Mars. ESA/DLR/FU-Berlin

Jezero Crater has become something of a celebrity since the start of NASA’s Perseverance Mars mission last year. Jezero, a dry lake bed, was the landing spot for the Perseverance rover in February 2021, and the site is now being explored by the vehicle in hopes of uncovering evidence of ancient microbial life on the distant planet.

Rather less bowl-shaped than some of the craters we see here, Jezero is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide and exists in the Isidis Planitia region of Mars, the site of an ancient meteorite impact that left behind him a large crater about 750 miles (1200 kilometers) in diameter. A subsequent smaller meteorite strike in the Isidis impact basin led to the creation of Jezero Crater.

Mead crater of Venus.
Crater Mead on Venus. NASA/JPL

At 170 miles (2745 km) in diameter, mead crater on Venus is one of the largest impact sites on the planet and was created by a massive collision that took place between 300 million and a billion years ago. The remarkable image of the crater (above) was created using a collection of radar images captured by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft.

Barringer Crater in Arizona.
Barringer Crater in Arizona. Shane Torgerson/Wikimedia Commons

A notable entry in Barnett’s collection is meteor crater – also known as Barringer Crater – which exists right here on Earth, in Arizona. Judging by its size (0.75 miles/1.2 km across; 600 feet/170 meters deep), it’s somewhere you wouldn’t have wanted to be when the impact happened about 50,000 years ago.

Barnett notes that the crater is “bigger than your average stadium” and was also a training site for Apollo astronauts before their lunar missions five decades ago.

Be sure to check out NASA’s article for their 10 amazing “bowl-shaped super sights.”

Editors’ Recommendations






Arline J. Mercier