back to article Mars whacked by object bigger than Pluto

New data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor backs a theory that the Red Planet's huge northern hemisphere Borealis basin was created by an impact 3.9bn years ago by a body some 1,900km (1,200 miles) in diameter, or larger than Pluto. The impact theory was rolled out in 1984 to explain why Mars …


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  1. Mark
    Gates Horns

    My bad!

    Most things can be linked to me.

    I'm afraid to say that this was infact caused by my playing an exciting game on the PS3, whilst doing so i nodded off and knocked into mars.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Hot News !

    Mars battered, huge stick of rock involved !

    Apologies to you foreigners who won't get the food references.

  3. Steven Raith

    "Mars battered, huge stick of rock involved !"

    Sounds like what I used to have for lunch when I was at school back up in Scotland.


    Steven R

  4. Pete Silver badge

    intergalactic bar-billiards

    So not only was the (earth's) moon formed by a collision with "a Mars-sized" object, but it now appears that Mars was also hit by something big. You've got to wonder it they were both on the same shot, and if so - how many points did it score?

    More worrying, who's lining up the next stroke and are we in the frame again

  5. James

    No ..

    immediate danger to us earthlings then...

  6. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    So mars was hit by another planet, then?

    Or is something that size only a planet when an american discovers it?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steven Raith

    not a rover by any chance now?

    (again apologies to foreigners who won't get the scottish football reference)

  8. Nate


    This is karma for evicting our dainty neighbor on the outskirts of town. Except that he knew it was going to happen 3 billion years ago, and sent his drunkard brother-in-law in our direction.

    Fortunately for us, the poor bastard was so lit, he ran into the wrong planet.

  9. Stevie

    Oh Crap

    Now the so-called "scientists" will want to recalssify Mars as an unplanet.

  10. Jaap Stoel

    Hands-free people

    See what can happen when you don't use your hands-free set? Have a care!

  11. alyn


    The white ball normally hits the red so that makes the moon as the cue ball. 4 point penalty and re-spot the white in Earth orbit.

    Whoever pots the Earth in the black hole immediately voids the game..

    I thought Eddie Charlton was a slow player, but a game played out over millions of years beat all.

  12. Mark

    re: intergalactic bar-billiards

    This was definitely a canon.

    (double pun for the lonely...)

  13. Parax


    has he been playing pool again?

    anyway its not just the north south hasn't anyone noticed that on one side of mars is a massive mountain and on the other side is a huge crater? hmm realted?? its been poked right through if you ask me!

  14. TeeCee Gold badge


    It can't be Bar Billiards, there are no holes on the table and none of those little wooden things that you can knock over.

    Therefore, they're playing snooker where the holes are out at the edge where we haven't found them yet.

    Therefore, we're safe.

    Mars is red and since he failed to pot it, he can't go for a colour on the next shot.

  15. Frank


    Where's the picture/diagram or model reconstruction ? You can't expect us to read all those words.

  16. wulff heiss


    ...was it a table?

  17. Br.Ken

    Alternate Explanation

    Here is a short video that offers an alternative explanation. I find it a little hard to believe that something the size of a small planet hit mars and that there is anything left of it.

    More Videos Here:

  18. Brian


    There used to be 10 planets. Pluto's brother-in-law had his status as a planet demoted by the Martians. In a fit of drunken rage he smashed into their planet for revenge. We had better hope Pluto stays sober.

    On a serious note. Someone mentioned the theory that the moon was formed by something Mars sized hitting earth. I seem to remember similar evidence of a fairly big impact to the planet Mercury, assuming they haven't demoted Mercury yet. I wonder if Venus has a similar impact. That might suggest the rocky planets originally form in pairs that eventually slam into each other with the larger one surviving.

  19. John

    re; Alternate Explanation

    The first video looks like continental drift. Either that or some alien piss drunk dinged the side of Mars on his way to a party at Venus. :)



  20. John Stirling

    @Br. Ken

    Have you actually read that nealadams site?

    That is the maddest lot of badly argued, inconsistent, unverifiable, thick, clap trap I've heard since last I went to a creationist site.

    And I mean creationist. none of that sophisticated and balanced ID debate.

    The style is identical of course.

    Just to check - Neal Adams is a (very talented) artist and animotor who has an opinion on early Earth geology, and quantum physics (pair creation), and is utterly at odds with the consensus view in both cases?


    To answer your first point, finding something hard to believe does not influence it's likelihood or truth value. It is simply a reflection on your intellect. Oh, and you shouldn't be believing it anyway - you should be assessing the theories, and considering the concepts in light of evidence, and how closely the theory predicts reality.

    Doing this will put the 'alternative' theory in a very poor light. Not least as it would result in an increase in Earth mass, which would affect the orbit, causing the climate to change rather dramatically. No, lots more dramatically than it is at the moment, and much slower.

    For others who haven't visited the site - don't. It isn't worth it to understand why I'm on a soapbox.

    Get back to Dave Lister - the pool ball theory actually makes more sense.

  21. Br.Ken

    Sun Around the Earth and the Earth Around the Sun?

    As far as Adams goes... He just seems to be a talking head for a movement of "over 1000 geologists" who have solid scientific evidence that supports this theory. Who knows who these geologist are and why he is a spokes person for the "movement," but it does offer an alternative view point to the tectonic drift theory.

    My greatest interest is more in seeing the scientific method played out well on both ends. If you are a student of history you will recall how Galileo insistence on the Earth revolving around the Sun, was a major paradigm shift in this area of thinking. The point is that "Sun Around the Earth" and the "Earth Around the Sun" theories BOTH had major holes in the theories at the time, (lack of solar parallax for starters); so does the Tectonic Drift and Expanding Earth theories. Which theory has the greatest probability.

    The problem that exists today is that scientist and spokespersons (especially Adams) make emphatic statements that say "this is the way it happened, there is no other possible way." The scientific method deals with probabilities, which theory has the greatest probability. Does one answer questions that the other cannot? Will investigating both theories allow for a more accurate picture be drawn?

    I think the site is worth the visit ...


  22. Andrew Tyler
    Thumb Up


    I would like to see that. One planet crashing into another has got to be one of the coolest things you could possibly witness.

  23. Kanhef
    Thumb Up

    @ John Stirling

    Thanks for the voice of sanity and reason.

  24. ton

    euh andrew

    it would but a slightly further distance, debris you know

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Good thing

    Good thing I wasn't on that planet 3.9 billion years ago then!

  26. Secretgeek
    Dead Vulture


    Yes, it's Jupiters fault apparently.

    He's going to pull off a shot that might take us or Mercury with it. Although it might just pot it in the Sun or lose it off the table altogether.



  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Space 1999

    I still remember that planet collision on the TV show Space 1999. Was exciting as hell! But then I was at the age of 10.

  28. Mark

    Re: Sun Around the Earth and the Earth Around the Sun?

    Uh, no, it wasn't paradigm shifting.

    The Mayans knew. 5000BC

    The Greeks new 3000BC

    The Arabs knew 1000BC

    Heck, the CHURCH at that time had theologians who knew.

    What got the church's knickers in a twist was Gallileo putting his work in common Italian, rather than Latin (which only the scholars could understand).

  29. Brandon

    I love untestable hypotheses - see ring theory

    scientist 1 - "i believe mars was irrevocably altered by a pluto sized rock."

    scientist 2 - "I see no evidence that such an event ever occurred."

    scientist 1 - "Oh yeah? then where did all the Martians go?"

    scientist 2 - "hmmm... good point..."

  30. Donald McBee

    Noahs Flood

    Everybody doughts Noahs flood. My theory is the large astreriod smashed into Mars with a huge explosion. Blasting the top of the planet off along with its water. The water was blasted into outer space where the gravity of the sun caught it pulling toward the sun very slowly. Eventually crossing paths with the earth flooding it! The water eventually soaked into the ground, into underground caverns and into the mantle, also creating the underground water table. Also blasting away mars oxygen atmosphere. That is why the only water on Mars now is underground, In wamer planet cycles the underground water bubbles up from the ground creating the channels we now see on Mars. I could have been even possible that highly advanced humans lived on mars at one time escaping to earth before the collision.

    Maybe one day science will prove my theory right?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Andrew Tyler

    "One planet crashing into another has got to be one of the coolest things you could possibly witness." ... preferably from a significant distance, a third planet even; but certainly not from the surface of either of those involved in the collision.

    Postulation: maybe Mars was the object and what it hit has since been moved on. (additional reference "cannon shot above")

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