Look what's at the bottom of the Martian Grand Canyon

Look what's at the bottom of the Martian Grand Canyon

The last picture taken by the ESA Mars Express spacecraft shows two gaps in the cortex of the Red Planet, which is part of the vast system of canyons in the Mariner Valley.

The image shows two trenches — a trench 805 km long and a depth of 7 km. The tallest mountain of Alp Monblanc, 4,809 metres high, would look like a dwarf if it were placed in the titonium valley, noted in a press release by the European Space Agency.

Scientists also provided images based on the digital model of the terrain, nadir and colour channels of high-resolution stereo cameras on board Mars Express.

The following picture shows a number of small bulges from the bottom of the valley. Using data from Mars Express, scientists found aquifer sulfate minerals in the region. This suggests that these bulges may have been formed when the liquid that once filled the gap vanished, although the theory is still under active discussion.

Mariner's valleys cross Mars, like the Grand Canyon, the United States, but the Red Planet canyon system is almost ten times longer, 20 times larger and five times deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth. Its length is almost 4,000 km, its width is 200 km, and its depth is up to 7 km. It is also the largest canyon system in the solar system. It would cover the distance from northern Norway to southern Sicily on Earth.

There is another big difference between them: while Grand Canyon was formed when the Colorado River was rinsed by rock rocks, it is believed that the Marinera Valley was formed by the movement of tectonic plates.