The ESA has posted new photos of Mars’ surface features. These pictures are taken by the Mars Express this week, describing them as looking “as if someone has raked their fingernails across the surface of the Red Planet, gouging out lengthy trenches as they did so.”
The ESA said in a press release that the region, called Tantalus Fossae, was created when the volcano they flank rose in altitude. It might seem like a trace of a monster, but it was the result of a natural phenomenon.
“Each trench formed as two parallel faults opened up, causing the rock between to drop down into the resulting void,” the ESA presser said.
They released photos of the trenches —and the nearly-12-mile-wide crater they cross. The region was named for Zeus’ son Tantalus, who betrayed the gods and was forced to go through punishment in the underworld.
The ESA Mars Express has been orbiting Mars since 2003 and captured a lot of info about the Red Planet just as billionaires like SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk plan to colonize it.
NASA aims to send the first person of color and the first woman to the Moon before moving on to Mars through its Artemis plans. We may soon be learning about these topographical features up close and personal if it doesn’t meet the same fate as Tantalus’ apples and water during his punishment.