Soar over Nili Fossae with ESA’s Mars Express

Mars’s surface is covered in all manner of scratches and scars. Its many marks include the fingernail scratches of Tantalus Fossae, the colossal canyon system of Valles Marineris, the oddly orderly ridges of Angustus Labyrinthus, and the fascinating features captured in today’s video release from Mars Express: the cat scratches of Nili Fossae.Nili Fossae comprises parallel trenches hundreds of metres deep and several hundred kilometres long, stretching out along the eastern edge of a massive impact crater named Isidis Planitia.This new video features observations from Mars Express’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). It first flies northwards towards and around these large trenches, showing their fractured, uneven appearance, before turning back to head southwards. It ends by zooming out to a ‘bird’s eye’ view, with the landing site of NASA’s Perseverance rover, Jezero Crater, visible in the lower-middle part of the final scene. (You can explore this crater further via ESA’s interactive map.)The trenches of Nili Fossae are actually features known as ‘graben’, which form when the ground sitting between two parallel faults fractures and falls away. As the graben seem to curve around Isidis Planitia, it’s likely that they formed as Mars’s crust settled following the formation of the crater by an incoming space rock hitting the surface. Similar ruptures – the counterpart to Nili Fossae – are found on the other side of the crater, and named Amenthes Fossae.Scientists have focused on Nili Fossae in recent years due to the impressive amount and diversity of minerals found in this area, including silicates, carbonates, and clays (many of which were discovered by Mars Express’s OMEGA instrument). These minerals form in the presence of water, indicating that this region was very wet in ancient martian history. Much of the ground here formed over 3.5 billion years ago, when surface water was abundant across Mars. Scientists believe that water flowed not only across the surface here but also beneath it, forming underground hydrothermal flows that were heated by ancient volcanoes.Because of what it could tell us about Mars’s ancient and water-rich past, Nili Fossae was considered as a possible landing site for NASA’s Curiosity rover, before the rover was ultimately sent to Gale Crater in 2012. Another mission, NASA’s Perseverance rover, was later sent to land in the nearby Jezero Crater, visible at the end of this video.Mars Express has visited Nili Fossae before, imaging the region’s graben system back in 2014. The mission has orbited the Red Planet since 2003, imaging Mars’s surface, mapping its minerals, studying its tenuous atmosphere, probing beneath its crust, and exploring how various phenomena interact in the martian environment. For more from the orbiter and its HRSC, see ESA’s Mars Express releases.Disclaimer: This video is not representative of how Mars Express flies over the surface of Mars. See processing notes below.Processing notes: The video is centred at 23°N, 78°E. It was created using Mars Chart (HMC30) data, an image mosaic made from single-orbit observations from Mars Express’s HRSC. This mosaic was combined with topography derived from a digital terrain model of Mars to generate a three-dimensional landscape. For every second of the movie, 62.5 separate frames are rendered following a pre-defined camera path. The vertical exaggeration is three-fold. Atmospheric effects – clouds and haze – have been added, and start building up at a distance of 50 km.Click here for the original video created by Freie Universität Berlin, who use Mars Express data to prepare spectacular views of the martian surface. The original version has no voiceover, captions or ESA logo.

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Astrobotic conducting NASA JPL Mars mission studies

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 21, 2024

Astrobotic has been selected by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program for two studies of commercial services aimed at supporting cost-effective, frequent missions to Mars. The studies will explore commercial payload delivery and surface imaging services to enable future scientific missions to the Red Planet.

The two studies will focus on large payload delivery and hosting services, and Mars surf

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Meteor observed by weather satellite

Paris, France (SPX) May 23, 2024

A meteor recently lit up the skies over Spain and Portugal, and was also captured by the Meteosat Third Generation Imager weather satellite hovering 36,000 km away in geostationary orbit.

“While a meteor lit up the skies over Spain and Portugal recently, it was also captured by the Meteosat Third Generation Imager weather satellite hovering 36,000 km away in geostationary orbit.”


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Redwire spearheads NASA Mars imaging study

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 22, 2024

Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW), a leader in space infrastructure, has been awarded a NASA/JPL contract to study a Redwire-led commercial Mars spacecraft. The project will use Redwire’s spacecraft technology to provide surface imagery for industry and government customers, potentially supporting future Mars exploration missions.

“This presents an exciting opportunity to advance scientific

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Boeing delays Starliner fix before first crewed ISS flight

Washington (AFP) May 24, 2024

Boeing is set to launch its first crewed space mission in June without fixing a small helium gas leak on its troubled Starliner spaceship, officials said Friday.

The vessel, under development since 2010, has been plagued by technical problems and has yet to fulfill its purpose of ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station, allowing Boeing’s rival SpaceX to zoom ahead with its Cre

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RNA research uncovers potential for life on Mars

Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 23, 2024

People might assume the search for life on Mars ended when NASA’s first rovers sent back images of the planet’s barren, inhospitable surface. However, as scientists broaden their understanding of the extreme conditions in which life can flourish here on Earth – and expand their notions of what extraterrestrial life might look like – the search for life on Mars continues.

In recent years, N

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Five Stunning New Images from Euclid Telescope

ESA’s Euclid space mission has released five unprecedented new views of the Universe. These never-before-seen images demonstrate Euclid’s remarkable ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos. Scientists are now equipped to hunt for rogue planets, study mysterious matter through lensed galaxies, and explore the evolution of the Universe. Join us as we explore these groundbreaking discoveries and what they mean for the future of space exploration.

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SpaceX’s second Starlink launch today

Washington DC (UPI) May 23, 2024

SpaceX launched another 23 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit on Wednesday, the same day the space company launched a group of U.S. spy satellites from California.
Falcon 9 lifted off one minute behind schedule, at 10:36 p.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
“Merlin engine ignition and liftoff of Falcon 9,” SpaceX wrote Wed

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