“Off-Road Trail” Inside Martian Ogre’s Bowl Has a Very Scientific Explanation


Look all you want, you’ll not find the name Ogre’s Bowl on any maps of Mars that you can find. Sure, the place is real, but like most other places on the planet, it doesn’t go by the Google translation of its Latin name, which would be Orcus Patera. It could also be translated as Hell’s Plate, but we like the Ogre name more, so we stuck with that. But why are we talking about it?  Well, as you might have realized by now, we kind of like Mars a lot here on autoevolution, so a while back, we started hunting for incredible images and stories of and about the place. And we like to share them with you. For this Saturday, we selected this image of the Orcus Patera, a pic taken by the HiRISE camera back in July last year from an altitude of 281 km (175 miles). It shows the usual craters we see all over Mars, but also something that might be confused with the remnants of a road, an off-road trail, or maybe river bed, depending on where your imagination takes you. The feature is none of those things, of course, but rather a fracture in the “west middle of Orcus Patera.” The scientists looking at it do not say what may have caused it, but do point to other similar features being present in the region, probably connected between them at one point. As for Orcus Patera, ESA describes the place as a mysterious elongated crater. It’s, in fact, an elliptical depression measuring 380 km (240 miles) long and 140 km (87 miles) wide, with a rim that rises 1.8 km (1.11 miles) above the plains around it. The region might have come to be as a result of compressional forces doing their thing on an ancient round impact crater, or an asteroid hitting at an angle less than five degrees from the horizontal.