ESA Mars Express Orbiter Valles Marineris Grand Canyon
Photo credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
ESA’s Mars Express orbiter recently imaged Ius and Tithonium Chasmata, which are part of the Valles Marineris canyon structure. Nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of Mars’, the image you see here was captured by the orbiter’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on April 21, 2022. Data from the nadir channel, the field of view aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, was used to create the image, along with the color channels of the HRSC.


ESA Mars Express Orbiter Valles Marineris Grand Canyon
ESA Mars Express Orbiter Valles Marineris Grand Canyon
Valles Marineris slices across the Red Planet like the Grand Canyon cuts across the United States. Size wise, the Grand Canyon is 4000 km long, 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep, while Valles Marineris is nearly ten times longer, 20 times wider as well as 5 times deeper. It’s currently the largest known canyon system in the Solar System. Should you visit the national park back here on Earth anytime soon, here’s why you shouldn’t stand too close too the edge of the Grand Canyon.

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ESA Mars Express Orbiter Valles Marineris Grand Canyon

The image shows two trenches (or chasma) that form part of western Valles Marineris. On the left (south), is the 840 km-long Ius Chasma, and on the right (north) is the 805 km-long Tithonium Chasma. Whilst these high-resolution images show incredible surface detail, it is only when we look at an elevation map that we realize how spectacularly deep the chasmata are – up to 7 km!,” said the ESA.

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