NASA released a photo of an impact crater on Mars taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MRO. The Mars orbiter took the image on Nov. 19, 2013.

Mars Impact Crater NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observed the recently created impact crater on Nov. 19, 2013. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

According to NASA, the impact crater was created between July 2010 and May 2012. The MRO scanned the area with its Context Camera, CTX, which serves as a companion imager to the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, HiRISE, camera. The CTX covers a much larger area than HiRISE but at a lower resolution. 

The crater's center is about 100 feet, or 30 meters, in diameter and contains a radial spray of ejected material. The space rock responsible for the crater-ejected material traveling as far as 9.3 miles, or 15 kilometers, away, NASA noted. The enhanced image reveals a blue crater, which differs from the red hues normally associated with Mars, due to the dusty surface. According to the blog post on the University of Arizona's HiRISE page, "Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color due to the lack of reddish dust."

Mars Impact Crater A wider view of the impact crater showing the surrounding terrain. Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Researchers will analyze the image to gain new insight into what caused the crater. One of MRO's main scientific objectives is to observe these smaller surface features, such as impact craters, potential hazards for Mars rovers, and areas that could contain water, NASA said. Much like the Mars rovers, the orbiter is studying the history of water on the planet and exploring surface features that would indicate an ancient sea or lake bed. The MRO was launched in 2005 and reached Mars in 2006.