Mars orbiter sends striking photos from icy crater
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Mars orbiter sends striking photos from icy crater

Composite images from European Space Agency craft show Korolev crater, named after famous Soviet engineer

This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometre-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars. This oblique perspective view was generated using a digital terrain model and Mars Express data (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)
This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometre-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars. This oblique perspective view was generated using a digital terrain model and Mars Express data (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

The European Space Agency has released stunning new photos of Mars’ northern Korolev crater.

The images are composites, created from five separate photos taken by the ESA’s Mars Express orbiter, which has been flying over Earth’s neighboring planet since 2003.

The crater is 82 kilometers (51 miles) wide, filled by a sheet of ice that is 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) deep at its thickest point.

Unlike other icy craters on the red planet, Korolev keeps its ice all year round, thanks to a layer of cold air trapped inside the crater, cooling its contents.

This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometer-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars. This plan mosaic comprises five different observational strips that have been combined to form a single image. (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Korolev crater is named after Sergei Korolev, Soviet Russia’s chief rocket engineer during the space race between the USSR and the USA in the 1950s and 1960s. He worked on the Sputnik program that sent the first man-made satellite into orbit, as well as the Vostok program in which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space in 1961.

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