Cave found on Mars

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am

When a group of seventh graders in California recently launched a school project to search for lava tubes on Mars, they made a surprise discovery: a mysterious cave, reports.

The Mars Student Imaging Programme at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University allows students to come up with a question.

Then its camera, which is orbiting Mars, takes a picture and answers the question.

The 16 students found the lava tubes they were looking for. But they also found what appears to be a hole in the roof of an underground cave.

Glen Cushing, a United States Geological Survey scientist, told the students: 'This pit is certainly new to us.'

The scientist says he thinks the hole the students have discovered is like a skylight - a collapsed area over a cave that might have been created by lava or some other force.

The students' project will not end with their new discovery. They have submitted their findings to Nasa's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). That camera is powerful enough to actually see inside the hole - and find out what the students really have found.