November 23, 2012
The Valles Marineris canyon on Mars is the largest known canyon in the solar system, is up to 11km deep. By comparison, the Grand Canyon is only 2km deep.
Mars Express, Valles Marineris, Mars, 2012
The image presented shows a bird's-eye view of the central and eastern part of Valles Marineris, or to put it more precisely, from the perspective of ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, which repeatedly crosses the Martian equator from north to south or south to north.The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board Mars Express, which is operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), has been taking image strips of the valley system since 2004 as it passes overhead.
The individual HRSC image strips are each between 50 and 200 kilometres wide, depending on Mars Express' orbit, so this view of Valles Marineris has only been made possible by creating a mosaic using 20 separate images.
Did water flow through the valleys with great energy, changing the landscape of Valles Marineris and making the valley floor even deeper?