The new pictures of the largest canyon in the solar system are absolutely mesmerizing.
The European Space Agency revealed images taken by its Mars Express mission yesterday of the alluring geological structure, known as Valles Marineris. It is 20 times wider than our own Grand Canyon, as well as ten times longer and seven times deeper. Also, unlike the Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris was created by drifting tectonic plates versus running water.
ESA’s photo of the canyon system was captured in April but is released just now. It depicts a deep sandy-orange gulf outlined by jagged cliffs and pocked by craters from previous impacts — a timely reminder of the extraordinary, lonely grandeur of our solar system.
The ESA’s Mars Express has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003 to image its surface.
It has captured more than a few eerie and just plain odd shots during this period, like the image it dropped last month of an eyeball-shaped crater on Mars’ surface. In May, photos of what appeared almost like giant monster-claw scratches went viral.