TechUnanalyzed Martian canyon: Stunning new images reveal Aganippe Fossa

Unanalyzed Martian canyon: Stunning new images reveal Aganippe Fossa

The Great Crack on Mars. What is it?
The Great Crack on Mars. What is it?
Images source: © ESA|DLR|FU Berlin
Mateusz Tomczak

8 July 2024 07:08

A satellite orbiting the Red Planet has captured unprecedented images of the Martian canyon Aganippe Fossa. Although it has drawn the attention of astronomers for nearly a century, only recently has it been documented from such a close range. The images reveal new details of the gigantic canyon, which is approximately 600 kilometres long.

According to IFLScience, compared to the canyons we know on Earth, Aganippe Fossa is only 446 kilometres long, while the much smaller yet more widely known American Grand Canyon is only 446 kilometres long.

Great cracks on Mars

Interestingly, despite its impressive size, the Martian Aganippe Fossa is not the largest canyon in the Solar System. That title belongs to Valles Marineris, which stretches an astounding 4,000 kilometres. Importantly, this is also a Martian feature.

The images of Aganippe Fossa were taken thanks to the European Space Agency (ESA) and its Mars Express satellite. They also show fascinating landscapes of the entire Tharsis region, a Martian area rich in volcanic giants, including Olympus Mons, which stands 25 kilometres high.

The mysterious origin of Aganippe Fossa

Although the origin of Aganippe Fossa remains unclear, astronomers and the ESA have their theories. It is suggested that its current shape and structure might be due to past volcanic activity and magma rising from beneath the surface of Mars millions of years ago. According to scientists, more precise dating of the Aganippe Fossa formation is currently impossible.

Although the canyon is awe-inspiring, it is much smaller than Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the entire Solar System. Nevertheless, both of these phenomena undoubtedly testify to the astounding power and scale of geological processes on Mars. According to observers of the solar system, Aganippe Fossa may resemble cracks or scars on Mars, making it appear exceedingly majestic in the images.

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