Never before seen images of the largest canyon in the solar system

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[EN VIDÉO] Mars: fly over the Korolev Crater!
Fly over the frozen crater Korolev, located near the polar ice cap of Mars, as if you were there!

Our neighbor, the red planet, is not called Mars by chance, of course its red color is clearly visible on iteye naked from Earth, which gave him the name of the god of war in Rome (inherited from Babylon and Greece). So when, two millennia after Caesar, from 1962 to 1971, Mariner probes revealed for the first time never-before-seen details of Mars, revealing a desolate, dry world and with a huge gash far close to 4,000 kilometers, how could to think of the face of a wounded warrior. Named Valles Marineris in honor of Mariner 9 who made its discovery, this impressive gash in its dimensions is none other than the longest, widest and deepest chasm in Solar system.

Her the formation would be related to the tectonic plate which split at this location billions of years ago, leaving a very spectacular depression that ends in the west with a network of valleys, the Labyrinth of the Night. Here in these pictures taken by the venerable European space probe Mars Express — she knows the red planet “like the back of her hand” as she has flown over it for almost 20 years — we are not far from it, just to the east, ahead Tithonium Chasma and Ius Chasma canyons.

In the depths of Valles Marineris

On the walls of these two notches one can observe the effect of wind as for billions of years has been project manager of this environment, patiently eroding it, unlike Grand Canyon on the ground (so much less), carved out by the Colorado River. Debris piles up at the bottom, thousands of meters below. There is also nothing smooth or frozen either. There are many reliefs of various origins, such as mountains that culminate at more than 3,000 meters, also streaked and plowed by the wind. Finally, the ESA reports, between these two mountains, bumps abound minerals sulfates containing water »which holds the memory of the very old precious ones liquid in these deep canyons in places of 7 kilometers.

Mars is a paradise for geologists who reads on these pictures of Mars Express and also from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter the fascinating past of this planet close to ours.

In pictures: visit Hebes Chasma Canyon

Article by Xavier Demeersmann published on October 17, 2013

Thanks to the images taken by the European space probe Mars Express (Esa), explore with an unparalleled level of detail the reliefs of Hebes Chasma, a huge Martian chasm corroded by billions of years of erosion.

That red planet presents a wide range of landscapes with which we are becoming more and more familiar. Moreover, it is not rare to meet some who repeat what we know on Earth: here volcanoes, surely fighting that valleys of debacles or dried up rivers. Without forgetting the gaps with disproportionate dimensions such as Valle’s Marine rice, the most famous of the solar system, which stretches over almost 4,000 km. An impressive scar on the face of Mars, perfectly visible from space.

The region has several year, all probably formed during the first billion years of the planet’s history. For exogeologists, their origin is to be found in the upheaval of the titanic volcanoes of the group of Tharsis Mountains dominated by the enormous Mount Olympus, 23 km high and as wide as France. Extended, the crust The Martian would then have broken, indented at several points. Billions of years after this geological episode, we discover these gaping wounds transformed by erosion, thanks to the cameras from the orbiters present at the site.

The strange gap Hebes Chasma on Mars

About 300 km north of Valles Marineris is Chasma of Hebe (Pictures above and below), another injury in the area. The gorge stretches from east to west over about 315 km, and from north to south over 125 km, at a depth of almost 8 km! A closer look at the mosaic of eight highly detailed images, taken between 2004 and 2009 by HRSC camera (High resolution stereo camera) of the Mars Express probe, the researchers noted several interesting points.

The one that catches their attention the most is the long plateau, or mesa, remains in the center of the depression, the top of which is at the same height as the surrounding environment. Data collected by MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) from NASA and the European Space Probe show that its walls, apart from the materials of volcanic origin found buried throughout the region, are characterized by layers of sediments lakeand is coated with dust scattered and moved off trade winds or different landslide.

One of the curiosities of this damaged landscape is the horseshoe-shaped part visible at one of its ends. On it rubble from a collapsed wall we can see a long stream of dark materials ending below in a strange pool of black ink. It is not excluded that a sudden melting of ice or outflow of underground reservoirs is the cause.

Impossible to miss the many furrows engraved on the slopes of mesa, testimony to the relative fragility of the building’s rocks. Their study revealed the presence of hydrated minerals, which are only formed by the continued presence ofliquid water. A lake probably occupied this deep depression for at least several thousand years before disappearing. Subject to erosion of winwater and landslides, the gap Hebes Chasma continues to grow.

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