A high-resolution stereo camera (HRSC) operating on ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter envisions a scenic landscape near the large valley system of the Wallace Marineries on the Red Planet.
The Welles Marineris is a huge canyon system that runs along the eastern equator to the east of the Tharias region.
That, 000,000 km. (5,500,000 miles) long and up km. (miles) – approximately 10 times longer and 5 times wider than the Grand Canyon of Rezona.
It contains numerous small rifles, channels, outflows, fractures and signs of flowing material (such as water, ice, lava or debris).
The Wallace Marineris is a faint stain on the face of Mars, and the planet’s crust is thought to have been stretched by nearby volcanic activity, causing it to tear and crack before breaking into the deepest depths we see today.
These rivers have been shaped and eroded by water flow, landslides and other erosive processes, with spacecraft including the Mars Express finding indications that water has existed in parts of the Wales Mariners in relatively recent times.
A new image of the Mars Express ‘HRSC instrument’ shows the ‘chaotic terrain’ in Pirah Regio – an area south of Eos Chasmani, the former branch of the Welles Marineris system.
Dispersing effect crates formed like corpses coming from space colliding with the surface of Mars, can be seen on the left side of the frame.
The floor of the largest and highest basin extends for about 40 km (25 miles), and contains some fractures and scars that form only after the crater.
The hot, molten stone is believed to have been thrown during the crater forming the crater, then it cooled and froze to form a stain-like character visible here.
Towards the center of the frame, the surface is relatively smooth and asymptomatic – however, the two broad channels have done their work through the landscape, and can be seen as branch indentations in the surrounding area.
The valleys are connected to the actual string of the image from their right end: the sinking, uneven, stained pp of the land known as chaotic terrain.
The chaotic terrain, as the name suggests, seems irregular and messy, and it forms sub-surface ice and silt as it begins to melt and migrate.
This migration layer causes the surface to collapse – a collapse that can occur quickly and catastrophicly as water drains out quickly through the Matian regolith.
Volcanic lava flows, subsurface magnetism, the effects of large meteorites, or heat events such as climate change can stimulate ice to melt.
The chaotic terrain seen here has melted ice, resulting in water flow, and many different broken blocks are now standing in empty cavities.
Significantly, the floor of this cavity lies 4 km (2.5 miles) below the sloping ground on the left below the scent.