Researchers at the University of Arizona have released a new close-up photo of the huge Mars canyon, which was taken by the NASA HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These images were captured to determine the origin of the canyon.
The Valles Marineris Canyon on Mars is about ten times longer and five times deeper than the Grand Canyon found on Earth, making it the largest canyon in the entire solar system. Although this is impressive, scientists are not sure how the canyon was formed and have been using HiRISE cameras to capture and study images of the Valles Marineris canyon in an attempt to determine its origin.
A leading theory is that billions of years ago magma tore apart the outer shells of planets. The image below was released by the University of Arizona as part of ongoing research and seems to support the idea that the canyon was further formed by melting ice into a river.
Without the HiRISE camera, this research would not be possible. The HiRISE camera is a large camera weighing 143 pounds, measuring approximately 5 feet by 2 feet.according to Popular science, It can resolve something the size of a kitchen table on the surface of Mars that is 3.5 miles wide.
Using the camera’s high-resolution zoom function, you can capture similar images above, so that you can observe different areas of the planet more closely to see the patterns and changes on the surface, thereby helping scientists determine the answer to the puzzle. For example, researchers noticed angular “slashes” on the surface, which may indicate freezing and thawing cycles. Such tiny details can only be seen with HiRISE, which is important for continuing to study Mars and determine whether life can survive on the red planet.
(Via popular science)
Picture credits: Photos shared through the public domain are provided by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.