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You've never seen Mars like this before

You've never seen Mars like this before

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In a new image of Mars, the red planet doesn't look as red as we know it. This is due to new technology.

MUNICH – Not only is NASA exploring Mars with its rovers and orbiters, but the European Space Agency ESA is also represented by two space probes in Mars orbit and observing the Red Planet from above. The Mars Express space probe has been in Mars orbit for 20 years and has sent countless pictures of the planet to Earth.

Now the European Space Agency has published a special image of Mars: it shows the red planet as it has never been seen before – and not in the red color we once knew. The 90 exposures required for the image were taken at an altitude between 4,000 and 10,000 km. However, color was apparently a challenge – although the camera used, the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), can create not only 3D images, but also color images.

The red planet Mars, photographed by the European Space Agency's Mars Express space probe. Dark gray areas represent gray-black basalt sands of volcanic origin; Light spots indicate clay and sulfate minerals. The large “scar” that runs across the surface of Mars is the Marineris Valley. © ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/G. Michael, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

This image of Mars taken by the European Space Agency shows a planet that is not quite red

“The ever-changing opacity of the Martian atmosphere makes it difficult to determine the exact colors of the Martian surface from orbit,” the European Space Agency explains in a statement. notice. The dust scatters and reflects light, causing colors to shift between images and creating a “patchwork-like effect” when assembling a mosaic of multiple images. To suppress this effect, color variations are usually reduced. But this time, experts approached the issue differently.

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“To create this mosaic, the HRSC team linked each individual image with a color model derived from elevation observations, preserving color differences and providing a more colorful image of Mars than before,” the ESA said. When you look at an image of the Red Planet, you can also read information about the composition of Mars.

European Space Agency image of Mars reveals surface details

The darker, slightly bluish areas are grey-black basalt sand of volcanic origin that is driven by winds on Mars and can form sand dunes. According to the European Space Agency, the light spots in the image consist of clay and sulfate minerals, and these minerals show that there must have been water on Mars for a long time.

The European Space Agency's space probe orbits
The European Space Agency's Mars Express space probe has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003. (Artist's impression) © dpa/dpaweb/Esa

The huge “scar” running across the image of Mars is… Valles Marineres (Valles Marinere)A huge fault system on Mars. It is 4,000 kilometers long, 700 kilometers wide, and 7,000 meters deep, making it approximately 10 times longer, 20 times wider, and five times deeper than the Grand Canyon in the United States.

The Mars Express mission was originally planned for one Martian year (687 Earth days). Recently, the mission was extended until the end of 2026. The second European space probe to orbit the Red Planet is the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which studies the effects of gases in the Red Planet's atmosphere. Recently, this space probe was able to show that Mars glows green at night. (unpaid bill)