A recently released video, based on images taken by ESA’s Mars Express, showcases the 82 km wide Korolev crater on Mars as if an airplane taking aerial footage was flying over it.
For some more time, noone is going to Mars, so the special Korolev crater can only be examined with the help of satellite images. However, scientists are doing everything they can to make this observation a real experience.
The below footage of Mars’ surface recently released by the European Space Agency (ESA) was created using an image mosaic made from single orbit observations by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) installed on Mars Express. The location is particularly interesting as this well-preserved impact crater on Mars is filled with water ice all year round.
The image mosaic combines data from the HRSC nadir and colour channels; the nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. The researchers then combined the mosaic image with topography information from the stereo channels of HRSC to generate a three-dimensional landscape, which was then recorded from different perspectives, as with a movie camera, to render the amazing flight shown in the video.
Located in the northern lowlands of the Red Planet, south of the large Olympia Undae dune field that partly surrounds Mars’ north polar cap, the crater’s floor lies two kilometers below its rim, enclosing a 1.8 km thick domed deposit that represents a large reservoir of non-polar ice on Mars.
The reason why water ice is permanently stable within the Korolev crater is that its deepest part acts as a natural cold trap. The air above the ice cools, making it heavier than the surrounding air: since air is a poor conductor of heat, the water ice mound is effectively shielded from heating and sublimation.
For now, we definitely have to continue to explore Mars without any physical human presence on its surface, but wow, are we getting closer…