Mars Photo Ice Crater

Photo credit: ESA
The European Space Agency has just released a new image that provides an incredible look at the ice-filled Korloev crater on Mars. This 50-mile wide crater in the northern lowlands of Mars has a mound of water ice about 1.8 km thick all year round, which forms a glacier comprising around 528 cubic miles of non-polar ice. It’s resistant to melting during the warmer summer because the plain of ice creates a “cold trap,” or the phenomenon that occurs when air travels above the crater, before cooling and then sinking over the ice like a shield. Read more for another video and additional information.

How were these images captured? Well, as the Mars Express travels over the planet, it takes photos of different strips of land, and then transmits the pictures back to Earth. Scientists then stich them together to form various picture of different Martian landforms. The crater images are composites of five different photos, each taken during a separate orbit across Mars.

“Korolev is named for a giant in space history: rocket scientist Sergei Korolev. Korolev headed the Soviet space program and famously beat the Americans into space. The Soviets, under Korolev’s leadership, sent both the first human and satellite into space,” reports Mashable.