Mars video takes you on flight over the ‘labyrinth of night’ | Science | News

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a stunning video that shows what it would be like to soar above the surface of Mars.

Specifically, the visualisation covers the eastern portion of Noctis Labyrinthus — a vast system of deep and steep valleys that span some 740 miles, about the length of Italy.

This “labyrinth of night” is nestled between the volcanoes of Mars’s Tharsis region and Valles Marineris — the Martian counterpart to our Grand Canyon.

The simulated flight was produced using real images of the Red Planet taken by Mars Express, which has been orbiting our neighbouring world since 2003.

Alongside imagining the planet’s surface, the ESA craft has also spent this time mapping its minerals, studying the world’s tenuous atmosphere, and probing beneath its crust.

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The ESA said: “This video visualises a flight over the eastern part of Noctis Labyrinthus as seen by Mars Express’s High Resolution Stereo Camera.

“It presents a perspective view down and across this fascinating landscape, showing distinctive ‘graben’ — parts of the crust that have subsided in relation to their surroundings.

“The intense volcanism in the nearby Tharsis region is to blame for the formation of these features.

“This volcanism caused large areas of martian crust to arch upwards and become stretched and tectonically stressed, leading to it thinning out, faulting and subsiding.”

The ESA continued: “The highest plateaus seen here represent the original surface level before chunks of surface fell away.

“The intersecting canyons and valleys are up to 30 kilometres [18.6 miles] wide and six kilometres [3.7 miles] deep.

“In many places, gigantic landslides can be seen covering the valley slopes and floors, while other valley slopes show large dune fields created by sands blown both down and upslope by martian winds.”

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