DEC 26, 2017 5:23 PM PST

Strikingly-Beautiful Image Depicts an Upside-Down Mars

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Most images depicting other planets in the solar system illustrate the North at the top and South at the bottom. A picture snapped by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft on June 19th, 2017, on the other hand, does just the opposite.

A detailed wide-angle image of Mars snapped by the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.

Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

A public statement released by the ESA elucidates how the Mars Express spacecraft grabbed this image as it was traveling from North to South during a routine calibration event. Furthermore, each of the onboard high-resolution stereo camera’s nine channels made this level of unprecedented detail possible.

Still not entirely sure what you're looking at? You can use the image below for reference:

Image Credit: NASA/Viking, FU Berlin

Related: Is Mars' environment more hostile than initially thought?

At the bottom of the picture, you can discern Mars’ dark and mysterious North pole. There, you can recognize traces of water ice and dust. Remnants of evaporated carbon dioxide and water vapor produced by the warmth of the spring season form the cloudy white regions just South of the North pole.

After the temperatures cool down during the fall and winter months, these evaporated gasses retreat back to where they came, and solid ices build back up at Mars’ North pole all over again.

The top of the image shows off Mars’ bright and clear equatorial region, which tells a starkly-different story about the red planet’s environment. If you look closely enough, you can make out a bevy of volcanoes and surface imperfections. One of the largest in the frame is Alba Mons, which stretches more than 1,000 kilometers in diameter.

Although Mars Express merely snapped this photograph for equipment calibration purposes, its value doesn't stop there. Fascinating perspectives like this one allow planetary scientists to study neighboring planets and develop theories concerning their history, formation, and habitability, among other things.

Given just how much each picture of Mars continues to amaze us, it should be interesting to see what future images might uncover as rovers and spacecraft alike explore its environment. After all, we still have a lot to learn before we send some of the first human visitors there.

Source: ESA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
MAY 31, 2020
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
Incomplete Starship prototypes are a common sight if you follow SpaceX’s plethora of rocket-centric projects, but ...
JUL 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Bacteria More Lethal and Antibiotic Resistant in Space
JUL 27, 2020
Bacteria More Lethal and Antibiotic Resistant in Space
Research has shown that bacteria are more lethal and resistant to antibiotics when exposed to microgravity (a lack of gr ...
AUG 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
AUG 31, 2020
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
If a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, the forces exerted on the star tear it to shreds, generating a hu ...
OCT 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Merge AI and Photonics to Find New Earths
OCT 23, 2020
Astronomers Merge AI and Photonics to Find New Earths
Researchers from the University of Sydney have developed a new type of sensor capable of measuring and correcting starli ...
OCT 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
OCT 24, 2020
The Closest Black Hole to Earth Isn't a Black Hole After All
Earlier this year, astronomers reportedly identified the 'closest black hole to Earth every discovered'. However ...
OCT 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Touches Down on the Surface of an Asteroid for a Sample
OCT 22, 2020
NASA Touches Down on the Surface of an Asteroid for a Sample
There was a time when scientists had to wait for an asteroid to fall to Earth before they could study one.
Loading Comments...