Fly Over Stunning Martian Trenches In This Reconstruction Of The Red Planet

Fly Over Stunning Martian Trenches In This Reconstruction Of The Red Planet

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express has been around the Red Planet for two decades and has delivered incredible images of the Martian surface. Those images have often been turned into three-dimensional visualizations and videos, and the latest one is of a fascinating series of trenches known as Nili Fossae.

The series of concentric trenches might not be as well known as other Martian sites such as Valles Marineris or Olympus Mons, but for planetary scientists this is a region of major interest. From this location, NASA discovered plumes of methane. The source is unknown, but obviously some have speculated that it could be from living organisms. It is also considered an interesting site for future human exploration.

We are not very close to actually getting to Mars, so this visualization is the best we have for now. The ground here formed 4 billion years ago with the impact of an asteroid that formed the crater known as Isidis Planitia. Around the crater, parallel faults formed in the crust, stretching for hundreds of kilometers. They are several hundred meters deep, thin and very long, described by the team as cat scratches.

On the other side of Isidis Planitia there is a different series of trenches known as the Amenthes Fossae. Nili Fossae is known for a wide diversity of minerals, some of which could have only formed in the presence of water. The richness of this region had it as a potential contender for the landing location of NASA’s Perseverance. The rover was eventually sent to Jezero Crater, which is visible at the end of the video.

Twenty years on, Mars Express continues its stunning work around the Red Planet, providing new insights about Mars. 

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