While there are still many mysteries to solve, Mars It is becoming clearer to us every day, thanks to the dozens of working robots that we currently have either on the surface of the red planet or in orbit.
In this latest version of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express orbiter, a unique feature of Mars’ geology is shown in stunning detail.
These grooves look like giant dents across the planet’s surface, and are part of a giant rift system on Mars known as Tantalus Fossae.
Aside from the details in the photo, what’s really surprising is the scale we’re looking at – these basins are up to 350 meters (1,148 feet) deep, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide and can extend up to 1,000 kilometers.
The image is true color, which means that it represents what humans would see if they were looking at the area with their own eyes.
It’s not technically an “image”; The image was created from a digital terrain model of Mars and using the color channels of the high-resolution stereo camera on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express – but it provides an incredibly clear view of the vast area.
The image above shows a tilted perspective, while the shot below shows a top-down view of Tantalus Fossae.
according to ESA press releaseThe Earth resolution of these images is about 18 m/pixel and the images are centered at about 43°N/257°E. North to the right.
So what are we looking at?
The hole is hollow or depressionand Tantalus Fossae running along the eastern side of a sprawling, relatively flat Martian volcano called Alba Mons.
When it comes to surface area, Alba Mons is the largest volcano on Mars – its volcanic flow fields span at least 1,350 kilometers (840 miles). But at its highest point, it is only 6.8 kilometers in height.
These fossils were created when Alba Mons rose from the planet’s crust, causing damage and cracking of the surrounding area.
“The Tantalus Fossae faults are a great example of a surface feature known as snatch” Explains the version. “Each trench formed when two parallel faults opened, causing the rocks between them to fall into the resulting void.”
A similar feature is found on the western side of Alba Mons, known as Alba Fossae.
These images are not only beautiful to look at, but they may also help us understand more about how the surface of Mars formed.
It is believed that these structures did not form all at once, but one after another, which leads to the intersection of some basins with each other.
For example, the impact crater you see in the photos has spread across, indicating that the crater was there first. In the two top photos, you can see a smaller crater on the left above the basins and likely smaller.
Mars Express was orbiting Mars for Over 18 years old now. We look forward to seeing more unique views of our neighboring planet.