The Express Orbiter set for Mars has captured photographs of a large crater covered with ice on surface of the Mars, during the time of this holiday season. Europe’s Space Agency (ESA) has launched this mission called as Mars Express back in the month of July 2003 & finally entered into the orbit of this red planet after five months during same year. After that, the probe started surveying the Mars surface using its camera with high resolution and other tools such as spectrometers and radars. The water found under the ice caps earlier to this year is considered to be the biggest achievement that stemmed from information collected by this Mars mission.
Recently, the orbiter succeeded to capture photographs of this huge crater, which is 51 miles long and located at northern side of Mars. Though this crater looks filled with snow, it actually is covered with water ice, while the scientists think that this ice is about 1.1miles thicker in the central portion. The scientists believe that this ice crater will stay as it is now for a whole year, because of a phenomenon called as the ‘cold trap’. It is the same location where deepest portion of this crater have ice which freezes the air when it flows over it. Later on, this cool air sinks downwards, resulting in the formation of a cold air layer above ice which protects and maintains the ice from getting melted due to their insulating properties.
This image is a combination of 5 different images, which were differently captured using an instrument called as HRSC mounted on Mars Express. The photographs were previously captured at this year’s start, and along with the every orbit, the orbiter took another pieces of image. All the 5 images were joined together to create a single image shared by ESA.