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Science & Technology

Gigantic ice filled crater 50 miles wide is spotted on the surface of Mars

Saturday 22/December/2018 - 10:01 AM
File photo
File photo
Edited by: Yara Sameh

A HUGE white crater spotted on the surface of Mars shows that Earth is not the only planet getting into the festive spirit، the sun reported.

Stunning snaps show the red planet's Korolev crater filled with a mile-thick mound of what looks like snow.

But while it may look like a winter wonderland، Korolev would be a better spot for ice-skating than snowball fights.

Thick sheets of ice form in the crater all year round، and the European Space Agency's Mars Express satellite captured it in stunning detail this week.

"Taken by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC)، this view of Korolev crater comprises five different ‘strips’ that have been combined to form a single image، with each strip gathered over a different orbit،" the agency wrote on its website.

"The crater is also shown in perspective، context، and topographic views، all of which offer a more complete view of the terrain in and around the crater."

At 50 miles across، the snowy mound is about as wide as 170 football pitches laid end to end.

The deep base of the crater، about 1.2 miles down، acts as a 'cold trap' to keep Korolev at icy temperatures all year round.

It draws air moving over the crater down، creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself.

Behaving as a shield، this layer helps the ice remain stable and stops it from heating up and disappearing.

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev، dubbed the father of Soviet space technology.

Korolev worked on a number of well-known missions including the Sputnik program – the first artificial satellites ever sent into orbit around the Earth.

The region of Mars has also been of interest to several missions، including ESA's ExoMars programme، which aims to establish if life ever existed on Mars.

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