Mars Express Orbiter Finds Huge Crater of Water Ice on Mars

By: | December 29th, 2018

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

The presence of liquid water on Mars remains an ongoing topic of intense interest for all. But, now the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Mars Express has discovered the most compelling evidence of presence of liquid water on Mars.

European Space Agency’s space exploration mission ‘Mars Express’ celebrated its 15th anniversary in Martian orbit on December 25. It has been surveying the surface of Mars using a high resolution camera as well as other tools like radars and spectrometers.

The orbiter has captured images of a huge crater full of water ice on the surface of Mars

The Mars orbiter made several passes over this crater last year, taking images with its DSLR High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) at a resolution of mind boggling 21 meters (69 feet) approx per pixel.

These pieces of images were stitched together to create one incredible image of this crater in its full glory.

The crater has been named the ‘Korolev crater’ after Soviet spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev , who worked on historic missions like the Sputnik program and the first Soviet mission to the Moon.

Korolev Crater is 81.4-kilometer (50.6-mile) across with 1.8 km (1.1 miles) thickness

A statement carried on the ESA’s website said: “It is an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater and is filled not by snow but ice, with its center hosting a mound of water ice some 1.8 kilometers thick all year round.

“This ever-icy presence is due to an interesting phenomenon known as a ‘cold trap’, which occurs as the name suggests.”

The crater’s floor is deep, lying some two kilometers vertically beneath its rim, it added.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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