Thursday, December 23, 2010

ESA Mars express HRSC Image: Phoenicis Lacus

Phoenicis Lacus has an area of 8100 sq km (59.5 x 136 km), which corresponds to the size of Corsica. 

This image was obtained on 31 July 2010 using the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. 

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

New images of Mars' Phoenix Lake region show where complex fault lines along a vast Martian plain have resulted in terrain with contrasting light and dark appearances. 

The Phoenix Lake region, formally called Phoenicis Lacus, was first spotted by 19th century astronomers, who identified it as a dark spot that resembled a sea. Scientists now know that it is not a body of water, but the southwestern extension of the maze-like Noctis Labyrinthus system of deep valleys.
Phoenicis Lacus has an area of 3,127 square miles (8,100 square kilometers), which is roughly equal to the size of the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Only a small portion of the region is visible in the new images, which were obtained with the High-Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet.

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