Last Thursday, the European Space Agency published an image taken by the Mars Express mission, showing a huge crater covered in what appears to be a lot of snow, but actually a large layer of ice.
It looks like a huge virgin snow trail located in the middle of a desert. But the truth is that it is the snapshot captured by the orbiter Mars Express of the European Space Agency (ESA) from the Korolev crater.
According to the discovery, it is 82 km wide and is located in the lowlands of northern Mars, very close to a large dune field, known as Olympia Undae, is a good example of a well preserved Martian crater.
The water ice layer in the center of the crater is 1.8 km thick. This frozen reservoir forms a glacier with about 2200 km3 of non-polar ice on Mars. This is always present is due to a phenomenon, known as "cold trap": between the ground and the edge of the crater there is a distance of 2 km.
A beautiful #winter wonderland in #Mars! This crater full of ice was photographed by our Mars Express spacecraft. The Korolev crater is 82 kilometers in diameter and is found in the lowlands of northern Mars.
More images: https://t.co/48Czjh80Qb pic.twitter.com/5KDQ1PJ0jt
– ESA (@esa) December 20, 2018
The Mars Express mission was launched on June 2, 2003 and reached Red Planet six months later. It entered orbit around Mars on December 25, so this month marks 15 years since the beginning of the scientific program of this ship.
Lead investigator Bruce Banerdt emphasizes the importance of this achievement "as important as the landing of InSight on Mars": "The seismograph is the highest priority instrument in InSightand we need that to complete three quarters of our scientific goals. "
The data recorded by this instrument will allow to know in depth everything that happens under the surface of the planet, when analyzing the seismic waves. This flow of data will begin to reach the ground when the seismograph is level, at which point Banerdt says he "has a bottle of champagne ready."