Red Planet or Red Velvet Cake? ESA Releases Delightful Image of Mars

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Mars has lengthy been a kind of an enigma to astronomers. An picture launched lately by the European Space Agency (ESA) reinforces the thriller across the Red Planet. The picture, captured by the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), confirmed Mars as a stunningly pleasant cake. The ESA mentioned the picture made the Earth’s neighbour seem “like a sprinkle of powdered sugar on a rich red velvet cake.”

But where does the white colour come from? ESA said it comes from water-ice and the red shades represent the rusty Martian soil. The image shows a distinctive 4km-wide crater located in the Vastitas Borealis region, a plains area near the planet’s north pole. TGO, a joint mission by ESA and Russian space agency Roscosmos, captured the image in July last year.

“The crater is partially filled with water ice, which is also particularly predominant on its north-facing slopes that receive fewer hours of sunlight on average throughout the year,” ESA said. The darker area around the rim, which gives the crater a scorched appearance, likely comprises volcanic materials such as basalt.

The European and Russian space agencies sent the orbiter to Mars under the ExoMars programme, which will send a rover to the planet later this year. The TGO is studying atmospheric gases and looking for water resources on and near the Martian surface. Previously, it detected what scientists described as hidden water beneath the floor in a canyon on Mars.

The orbiter started exploring Mars in 2018, two years after reaching the Red Planet. The spacecraft is about to supply information relay providers for the second ExoMars mission when it arrives on Mars in 2023.

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