For a class of California 7th graders, their summer vacations might pale in comparison to the class trip they recently took Mars.
At least, that's what astronomers might say after the class's discovery of an opening into a cave on the Red Planet.
The science class from Evergreen Middle School of Cottonwood, Calif., found the opening while working on a research project with the Mars Space Flight Facility run out of Arizona State University.
Using a camera orbiting Mars, the students focused on the area around the planet's Pavonis Mons volcano. The only other similar opening near the volcano was found in 2007, when Glen Cushing, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, published a research paper on the surface anomalies.
"This pit is certainly new to us," Cushing told the students, according to a release from the university. He estimated the opening to be 620 feet by 520 feet and the hole to be at least 380 feet deep.