Mars orbiter photographs ice-covered edge of vast crater

Berlin: The European Space Agency has released the first image taken by its Trace Gas Orbiter showing the ice-covered edge of a vast Martian crater.

The European Space Agency has released its first image taken by a probe orbiting Mars, showing the ice-covered edge of the vast Korolev Crater.

Scientists combined three pictures of the Korolev Crater, taken by the ExoMars Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), from an altitude of 400 kilometres on April 15.

Lead researcher Nicolas Thomas said the colours in the image were adjusted to best resemble those visible to the human eye.

The camera is one of four instruments on board the orbiter, which is designed to look for gases such as methane that could indicate biological or geological activity on Mars.

The orbiter begins its mission to look for the trace gases this month.

Thomas said the camera would allow scientists to inspect areas where gases are found, monitor Mars for signs of change and help scout the planet for future landing sites.

Europe plans to land its own rover on Mars in 2021.

A European test lander crashed on the surface of Mars in 2016.

The crater, about 80 kilometres in diameter, is named after Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Korolev.


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