July 25, 2024

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Ajanibi Hole Puzzle

Ajanibi Hole Puzzle

This image taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft shows the Aganippe Fossa crater, a spectacular canyon at the foot of the giant volcano Arsia Mons on Mars. Image credit: ESA/DLR/Free University of Berlin

A fascinating feature takes center stage in this new image from the European Space Agency. Mars Express:A dark, irregular scar cuts through the marble floor at the foot of a giant volcano.

This scar, known as the Aghanibi Crater, is an irregular feature about 600 kilometers long and is known as theCrows‘: A trench-like groove with steep walls on both sides.

A foreign hole cuts the underside of one. MarsMars Express regularly observes Arsia Mons and its nearby companions in the Tharsis region, home to several giant volcanoes on Mars. These include Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in the solar system (shown in the context map associated with this new image, as well as Arsia Mons).

Mount Arcia itself is 435 kilometers in diameter and rises more than 9 kilometers above the surrounding plains. For context, the highest extinct volcano on Earth, Ojos del Salado on the border between Argentina and Chile, is less than 7 kilometers high.

A wider view of the Aghanibi Crater

This image shows the Aganebi Crater, a sinuous canyon at the foot of the giant volcano Arsia Mons on Mars, in a broader context. The area marked by the larger white square indicates the area imaged by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European spacecraft Mars Express on Dec. 13, 2023, during orbit 25189, while the smaller white square shows part of the surface seen in these new images. Credit: NASA Science Team/Mars Observatory/Los Angeles Observatory

lava leak

We’re still not sure how and when Aganipi Crater formed, but it seems likely that it formed when magma rising beneath the massive Tharsis volcanoes caused the Martian crust to stretch and crack.

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In this view, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express captures two different types of terrain: so-called mountainous terrain, which consists of many irregularly shaped hills and valleys that all cluster together, and lobate terrain, which consists of gently sloping slopes and rocky debris.

Topography of Aghanibi Crater

This colour-coded topographic image shows the Aganebi Crater, a sinuous canyon at the foot of the giant volcano Arsia Mons on Mars. It was created from data collected by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft on 13 December 2023, and is based on a digital terrain model of the area, from which the landscape’s topography can be extracted. Lower elevation parts of the surface are shown in blue and purple, while higher elevation areas are shown in white and red, as indicated on the scale at the top right. Copyright: ESA/DLR/Freie Universität Berlin

This terrain is a distinctive feature of Mount Arsia’s “halo,” a 100,000-square-kilometre circular disk around the base of the volcano, probably associated with ancient glaciers. Interestingly, this halo only formed on the northwest side of the volcano, likely due to prevailing winds from the opposite direction that control where the ice settles over time.

Wind, dust and sand have also shaped this patch of Mars, creating the interesting zebra-like patterns on the right of the frame where darker material is deposited on lighter ground (or vice versa!). The surface here also shows evidence of lava flows, dating back to when the volcano was active.

3D Song Hole

This stereo image shows the Aganebi Crater, a sinuous canyon at the foot of the giant volcano Arsia Mons on Mars. The stereo image provides a three-dimensional view when viewed using red-green or red-blue glasses. Image credit: ESA/DLR/Freie Universität Berlin

Mars exploration

The Mars Express spacecraft has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003. It is imaging the Martian surface, mapping its minerals, determining the composition and circulation of its thin atmosphere, probing beneath its crust, and exploring how different phenomena interact in the Martian environment.

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The spacecraft’s HRSC instrument, responsible for these images, has revealed much about the diverse surface of Mars over the past 20 years. Its images show everything from Wind-carved hills and gullies From drilling into the flanks of massive volcanoes to impact craters, tectonic faults, river channels, and ancient lava pools, the mission has been enormously productive throughout its lifetime, creating a more complete and accurate understanding of our planetary neighbor than ever before.

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express spacecraft is an advanced imaging system designed to study Mars in high detail. It was launched European Space Agency In 2003, the Mars High Resolution Observatory captured three-dimensional images of the Martian surface, allowing scientists to examine the planet’s terrain and shape in unprecedented detail. This camera system uses stereo imaging techniques to produce color images along with topographic maps, helping researchers analyze the geology, composition, and physical processes of Mars. The Mars High Resolution Observatory has been instrumental in providing insights into the planet’s past water activity, volcanic activity, and other dynamic processes.