Mars’ Valles Marineris, which is 20 times wider than the Grand Canyon, seen in


The massive Valles Marineris canyon has been revealed in stunning new images taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express. 

At 2,485 miles long, over 124 miles wide and more than 4 miles deep, the Red Planet’s canyon makes America’s seem downright puny by comparison. Valles Marineris would span the distance from the northern tip of Norway to the southern tip of Sicily.

The new image depicts two trenches, or chasma, that form a portion of the western part of Valles Marineris. On the left is the 521-mile-long lus Chasma and on the right is the 500-mile-long Tithonium Chasma. 

The picture uses data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard Mars Express and it is a ‘true color’ image, meaning it shows what would be seen by the human eye if looking at this region of Mars. 

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This oblique perspective view of Tithonium Chasma (pictured above), which forms part of Mars' Valles Marineris canyon structure, was generated from the digital terrain model and the nadir and color channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express.

This oblique perspective view of Tithonium Chasma (pictured above), which forms part of Mars’ Valles Marineris canyon structure, was generated from the digital terrain model and the nadir and color channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express.

The Red Planet's massive canyon has been revealed in new images released by the ESA. The new image depicts two trenches, or chasma, that form a portion of the western part of Valles Marineris. On the left is the 521-mile-long lus Chasma and on the right is the 500-mile-long Tithonium Chasma

The Red Planet’s massive canyon has been revealed in new images released by the ESA. The new image depicts two trenches, or chasma, that form a portion of the western part of Valles Marineris. On the left is the 521-mile-long lus Chasma and on the right is the 500-mile-long Tithonium Chasma 

At 2,485 miles long, over 124 miles wide and more than 4 miles deep, the Red Planet's canyon makes America's Grand Canyon seem downright puny by comparison

At 2,485 miles long, over 124 miles wide and more than 4 miles deep, the Red Planet’s canyon makes America’s Grand Canyon seem downright puny by comparison

This image of Tithonium Chasma shows parallel lines and debris piles (upper right) that indicate a recent landslide

This image of Tithonium Chasma shows parallel lines and debris piles (upper right) that indicate a recent landslide

Pictured above is an illustration of an oblique view of the giant Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. The canyons were formed by a combination of geological faulting, landslides, and erosion by wind and ancient water flows

Pictured above is an illustration of an oblique view of the giant Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. The canyons were formed by a combination of geological faulting, landslides, and erosion by wind and ancient water flows

When viewed in terms of elevation, the Alps’ tallest mountain Mont Blanc – rising over 15,000 feet above sea level – would be dwarfed if it was put inside Tithonium Chasma.  

Unlike America’s Grand Canyon, which was formed about 5 million years ago as the Colorado River eroded rock away, the Red Planet’s massive canyon is believed to have formed by the drifting of tectonic plates. 

At the top of Tithonium Chasma, a patch of dark sand – that may have come from a nearby volcanic region – brings color contrast to the image.

Next to the dark sand dunes are two light-toned mounds, one of which is cut in half by the upper image border. 

This picture taken by the Mars Express shows a perspective view of a mesa in the regions east of the Valles Marineris, the largest canyons in the Solar System

This picture taken by the Mars Express shows a perspective view of a mesa in the regions east of the Valles Marineris, the largest canyons in the Solar System

The Red Planet's massive Valles Marineris - which stretches almost a quarter of the planet's circumference, is seen above (middle) in this image from the Granger Collection

The Red Planet’s massive Valles Marineris – which stretches almost a quarter of the planet’s circumference, is seen above (middle) in this image from the Granger Collection

Lus and Tithonium Chasmata are seen above. The area outlined by the bold white box indicates the area imaged by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera on April 21, 2022 during orbit

Lus and Tithonium Chasmata are seen above. The area outlined by the bold white box indicates the area imaged by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera on April 21, 2022 during orbit

MARS: THE BASICS

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