Big Pic: A Radar View Of More Than 3,000 Miles On Mars

A radar view of the southern highlands of Mars


Including a giant asteroid crater!

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter snapped this radar image of the red planet’s southern highlands, using its Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding instrument.

This image captures about 3,467 miles of Mars. The south polar ice cap appears just left of center, and the dip at the far right is the Hellas Basin, a 1,400-mile-wide circular impact crater thought to have formed when an asteroid hit the planet 4 billion years ago.

Mars Express began orbiting Mars in December 2003. Its mission, among other things, is to take high-resolution images of the entire surface of the planet. Last year, the orbiter sent back 3-D images showing a Martian mountain range covered in carbon dioxide frost.


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