The probe was launched in 2003 Mars Expressof the European Space Agency (ESA), has been imaging the surface of Mars for 20 years, mapping the planet’s minerals, studying its fragile atmosphere, drilling beneath its crust, and exploring how different phenomena interact in the Martian environment.
The mission has already returned stunning images of nearly 90% of the planet’s red surface, such as a video of Jezero Crater, the exploration region for NASA’s Perseverance rover.
Another impressive record shows that the Marineris Valley, also known as the Martian Grand Canyon, is the largest complex of canyons in the solar system, measuring more than 600 kilometers across and up to seven kilometers deep at its points.
Now, the European Space Agency has just released the latest footage from the Mars Express probe.
Volcanoes are responsible for forming a dark maze on the surface of Mars
Nestled between the aforementioned Marineris Valleys and the highest volcanoes in the solar system (the Tharsis region) is the Labyrinth of Noctis (Labyrinth of Night) – a vast array of deep, steep valleys stretching for some 1,190 kilometers (almost the size of Italy). .
The video above shows a flight over the eastern part of the maze recorded by the spacecraft’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It offers a bird’s-eye view of this magnificent landscape, showing distinct “vegetations” (parts of the crust that have thinned relative to their surroundings).
According to the European Space Agency, intense volcanic activity in the Tharsis region is responsible for the formation of these features. The agency explains in a statement, “This volcanic activity caused large areas of the Martian crust to curve upward and become tectonically stretched and compressed, which led to its thinning, failure, and thinning.” statement.
The criss-crossing canyons and valleys are up to 30 kilometers wide and six kilometers deep. In many places, giant landslides can be seen covering slopes and floors, while other land elevations show large fields of dunes formed by sand blown by Martian winds.
“Hardcore beer fanatic. Falls down a lot. Professional coffee fan. Music ninja.”