A stunning video released this week by the European Space Agency (ESA) reveals the red planet at its finest. The five-minute video clip showcases all the best features that Mars has to offer, providing a VIP tour of our planetary neighbor.
The footage is stitched together using satellite imagery taken by ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft from the 15 years that it has spent orbiting the red planet.
“On December 25, 2003, ESA’s Mars Express entered orbit around the red planet. The spacecraft began returning the first images from orbit using its High-Resolution Stereo Camera just a couple of weeks later, and over the course of its fifteen-year history has captured thousands of images covering the globe,” ESA officials explained in the video description.
The photos are absolutely exquisite and unveil Mars in all its beauty — from “breathtaking horizon-to-horizon views to the close-up details of ice- and dune-filled craters, and from the polar ice caps and water-carved valleys to ancient volcanoes and plunging canyons.”
“Mars Express has traced billions of years of geological history and evolution,” states the ESA.
“This video compilation highlights some of the stunning scenes revealed by this long-lived mission.”
Teslarati calls it the “best of Mars,” noting that the gorgeous clip “gives viewers the impression of flying over the planet’s surface, taking in the depth of colors as though they were physically there themselves.”
The video was uploaded on YouTube on January 10 and can be watched at the link below.
The “best of Mars” video begins with a view of the red planet photographed from horizon to horizon. The image was originally released by the ESA in June, when the space agency celebrated 15 years since the launch of the Mars Express spacecraft on June 2, 2003.
The clip continues with a superb snapshot of Mars’ ancient Neukum Crater — named after the German physicist and planetary scientist Gerhard Neukum, one of the founders of the Mars Express mission. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the 64-mile-wide crater was amply surveilled by the intrepid spacecraft, which captured an entire collection of photos during a series of flybys. These images were later compiled into a stand-alone video on YouTube, which the ESA released in May.
The incredible Mars video also shows an amazing view of the Mawrth Vallis — “one of the most remarkable outflow channels on Mars,” as the ESA describes it. Located at the boundary between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands, this dazzling martian landscape is a giant water-carved feature that once may have been habitable. Mawrth Vallis is also one of the biggest valleys on Mars, stretching for more than 370 miles and running up to 1.25 miles deep.
Another spectacular crater featured in the newly released clip is the 67-mile-wide Rabe Crater. This feature is located in the southern highlands of Mars, nearly 200 miles west of Hellas Planitia — a giant impact basin where scientists recently discovered the remains of three ancient lakes, per a previous report from the Inquisitr.
Among the precious photographic gems included in the Mars video is the fantastic “winter wonderland” photo of the 50-mile-wide Korolev Crater. First unveiled around Christmas, as the Inquisitr reported at the time, the image was made public to mark another anniversary of the Mars Express mission — specifically 15 years since the satellite began orbiting Mars.
The video also contains glorious appearances by the magnificent Hebes Chasma and Olympus Mons. Hebes Chasma is an awe-inspiring 5,000-mile-deep abyss located in the “Grand Canyon of Mars,” Valles Marineris. Meanwhile, the grandiose Olympus Mons is the tallest volcano in the entire solar system, measuring more than 13.5 miles in height and boasting a nearly 2-mile-deep caldera.
Assembled and edited by specialists from the Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing Department at Freie Universitat Berlin, the enthralling video uses mosaic images, each of them created from multiple snapshots taken by the Mars Express spacecraft during its many flybys of the red planet. The satellite’s HRSC imager has a resolution of about 32 feet, with some regions measured at about 6 feet of resolution.