mars-express

The Syrtis Major Volcanic Province - The Martian Surface

Acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express Satellite, this image depicts a detailed region of the Martian Nili Fossae Graben system. This system is an area of great interest to geologists due to the variety of its landscape. The graben system contains numerous troughs, plateaus, impact craters and depressions. Planetary Scientists are actively studying the data collected from ESA’s Mars Express through images similar to this.

Credit & Copyright: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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hannah: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 25th November 2005.

Image runs from 32°S 201°E about 710 km due south across the Terra Sirenum highlands to 44°S 201°E. The Sirenum Fossae run across the top of the 2nd image. The 5th and 6th images show a central section of the 300 km-wide Newton Crater, including what looks like part of the central peak complex (notice dunes, dark blue, on the left hand side).

Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and one monochrome image for detail. Colour balance is not naturalistic.

Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.

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Mars South Pole

With a ground resolution of about 1 km per pixel at the closest point to the surface, ESA’s Mars Express captured this phenomenal view of the Red Planet’s south polar ice cap, cratered highlands and Hellas Basin.

The image was acquired by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 25 February 2015. It is a ‘broom calibration’ image, acquired while the spacecraft performed a maneuver such that its camera pans over the surface far above the planet, at about 9 900 km.

via ESA

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Mars in 3D

Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) allow scientists to ‘stand’ on planetary surfaces. Although ordinary images can give spectacular bird’s-eye views, they can only convey part of the picture. They miss out on the topography, or the vertical elevation of the surroundings. That’s where Mars Express comes in.

The DTM can instantly tell researchers the slope of hillsides or the height of cliffs, the altitude and slope of lava flows or desert plains. It also helps planetary scientists to better interpret other data sets, for example the results of the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS).

The Mars Express DTM is the most detailed topographic data set ever released for Mars. Its release has been made possible by processing individual image swaths taken by the HRSC as Mars Express sweeps through its orbit. The individual swaths are then put together into mosaics that cover large regions. The high-resolution images used have a resolution of 10 m/pixel. The DTM elevation data derived from these images is provided in pixels of up to 50 m, with a height accuracy of 10 m.

The orbit of Mars Express determines the resolution of its pictures. When it is closest to the surface, it can take the most detailed pictures.

Credit: ESA

Mars’ potato-shaped moon Phobos will be receiving a fly-by of ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft this Sunday! Zipping by 28 feet above its surface, the spacecraft will be traveling too close and too fast for any photo ops, but the science collected from this fly-by will provide the most accurate details yet of the 27 x 22 x 18km moon’s gravitational field, which in turn, will enable us to better understand its internal structure.

“At just 45 km from the surface, our spacecraft is passing almost within touching distance of Phobos…we’ve been carrying out maneuvers every few months to put the spacecraft on track and, together with the ground stations that will be monitoring it on its close approach, we are ready to make some extremely accurate measurements at Phobos.” stated Michael Denis, the Mars Express Operations Manager [source]

As the spacecraft nears Phobos, it will be pulled off course by the moon’s gravity, altering its velocity by a mere few centimeters per second. As these measurements are sent back as radio signals from Mars Express, Earthly scientists will then translate them to determine the mass and and density structure within the moon. This data will assist in addressing questions of origin pertaining to Phobos’ planetary sibling, Deimos, as well.

How does this work? Mars Express possesses a high-resolution stereo camera which has been taking photos of Phobos against the background star field in the previous weeks leading up to this 35 hour tracking sequence: before, during and after the close encounter with Phobos. In addition to researching obtained toward its gravitational field, Mars Express will take measurements on the influence of solar wind on the moon’s surface.

“By making close flybys of Phobos with Mars Express in this way, we can help to put constraints on the origin of these mysterious moons…Mars Express entered orbit around the Red Planet exactly ten years ago this week – this close flyby of Phobos is certainly an exciting way to celebrate!”
- Olivier Witasse, Mars Express Project Scientist at ESA [source]

Phobos’ relative size compared to the Alpes and town of Grenoble, France.

Not so lumpy now, eh?

Excerpts and information from the Phys.org article ‘Mars Express heading towards daring flyby of Phobos’. For further details on this marvelous spacecraft, ESA put together a 10-year video montage of Mars Express highlights, providing insight into the sophisticated equipment on board, which you can accompany with the 90-minute replay of ESA’s Mars Express conference from June 2013, which highlights the key scientific discoveries of the mission along with a new mineral atlas created to chart the geological history of Mars.

Mars south pole and beyond by European Space Agency
Via Flickr :
This sweeping view by ESA’s Mars Express extends from the planet’s south polar ice cap and across its cratered highlands to the Hellas Basin (top left) and beyond. Click here for an annotated image. The image was acquired by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 25 February 2015. It is a ‘broom calibration’ image, acquired while the spacecraft performed a manoeuvre such that its camera pans over the surface far above the planet, at about 9 900 km. The ground resolution is about 1 km per pixel at the closest point to the surface. The image was created using data from the nadir channel, the field of view of which is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, and the colour channels of HRSC. These channels have been co-registered using ‘markers’ on the surface, such as a mountain or dark spot, to achieve a common geometry. That is, for each colour channel, these markers are overlain to produce the colour image. This process is not needed for ‘normal’ nadir observations because the geometry is known here, unlike in this broom observation. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Copyright Notice: Where expressly stated, images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform it, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as ‘ESA/DLR/FU Berlin’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication.

Mars south pole and beyond by europeanspaceagency on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This sweeping view by ESA’s Mars Express extends from the planet’s south polar ice cap and across its cratered highlands to the Hellas Basin (top left) and beyond. Click here for an annotated image.

The image was acquired by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 25 February 2015. It is a ‘broom calibration’ image, acquired while the spacecraft performed a manoeuvre such that its camera pans over the surface far above the planet, at about 9 900 km.

The ground resolution is about 1 km per pixel at the closest point to the surface. The image was created using data from the nadir channel, the field of view of which is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, and the colour channels of HRSC. These channels have been co-registered using ‘markers’ on the surface, such as a mountain or dark spot, to achieve a common geometry. That is, for each colour channel, these markers are overlain to produce the colour image. This process is not needed for ‘normal’ nadir observations because the geometry is known here, unlike in this broom observation.

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Copyright Notice:
Where expressly stated, images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform it, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as ‘ESA/DLR/FU Berlin’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication.

Made with Flickr
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gwen: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 22nd August 2007.

Image runs southwest from 71°S 56°E, just south of the Dorsa Brevia, to 80°S 34°E, just west of the Promethei Rupes; about 615 km. The dunes (dark blue) in the 4th image are inside Main Crater (Robert Main, astronomer, 1808-1878).

Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and one monochrome image for detail. Colours are relative, not naturalistic.

Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.

Mars Express Orbiter Buzzes Martian Moon Phobos

On Sunday, at 5:17 p.m. GMT (12:17 p.m. EST), Europe’s Mars Express orbiter successfully completed a daring low-pass of Mars’ largest moon Phobos. In an effort to precisely measure the gravitational field of the moon, the 10 year-old mission was sent on a trajectory that took it only 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the dusty surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to the natural satellite. Read more

Hebes Chasma

Hebes Chasma is an enclosed, almost 8 km-deep trough stretching 315 km in an east–west direction and 125 km from north to south at its widest point. It sits about 300 km north of the vast Valles Marineris canyon. A flat-topped mesa is located in the centre of Hebes Chasma, which was likely shaped by the action of wind and water.

Image credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

flickr

Cappuccino swirls at Mars’ south pole by European Space Agency

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The intriguing mounds of Juventae Chasma revealed by Mars Express 

Intriguing mounds of light-toned layered deposits sit inside Juventae Chasma, surrounded by a bed of soft sand and dust.

The origin of the chasma is linked to faulting associated with volcanic activity more than 3 billion years ago, causing the chasma walls to collapse and slump inwards, as seen in the blocky terrain in the right-hand side of this image.

At the same time, fracturing and faulting allowed subsurface water to spill out and pool in the newly formed chasm. Observations by ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that the large mounds inside the chasma consist of sulphate-rich materials, an indication that the rocks were indeed altered by water.

The mounds contain numerous layers that were most likely built up as lake-deposits during the Chasma’s wet epoch. But ice-laden dust raining out from the atmosphere – a phenomenon observed at the poles of Mars – may also have contributed to the formation of the layers.

While the water has long gone, wind erosion prevails, etching grooves into the exposed surfaces of the mounds and whipping up the surrounding dust into ripples.

The image was taken by the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 4 November 2013 (orbit 12 508), with a ground resolution of 16 m per pixel. The image centre is at about 4°S / 298°E.

Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
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te coule un drôle de regard: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 23rd December 2008.

1°N to 14°S, 64°E on the Terra Tyrrhena. For scale, Verlaine Crater - divided between the 5th and 6th images - is about 40 km across. The crater at bottom left of the 7th image is only a few degrees north of this gif.

Verlaine Crater is named after Verlaine, a village of about 3,500, rather than the groundbreaking queer poet Paul-Marie Verlaine (1844-1896). Curiously the IAU record the village as being in France, while it appears to be in the largely French-speaking Walloon Region of Belgium.

Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and 1 monochrome image for detail. 

Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.