NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered a mysterious deep hole (in the photo it looks like a black spot) with a diameter of 180 meters with the HiRise camera on the surface of Mars.
Later, after adjusting the brightness, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona was surprised to find that the slopes of the pit face southeast, and the bottom is sandy and flat.
The “Martian Gap” intrigued scientists in earnest. They are currently trying to find out if it is associated with a network of underground tunnels made by lava flows, such as those that form on Earth in areas of volcanic activity.
According to scientists, the ancient Martian volcanoes could leave behind large lava tubes, some of which could be used as sites for the bases of the first settlers, where they would be reliably sheltered from the vagaries of the harsh Martian climate.
NASA spacecraft have previously recorded similar holes. For example, in 2012, the Martian satellite MRO captured several vertical entrances to alleged caves up to 225 meters in diameter.
NASA is currently working on the creation of special drones that can be used in the future to compile maps of the Martian caves.