Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 July 29
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Melas Chasma
Credit: G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA

Explanation: Steep cliffs drop into the rugged terrain of Melas Chasma in this stunning view from the Mars Express spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. At a scale of 16 meters per pixel, the image data from the orbiter's High Resolution Stereo Camera offers evidence that volcanic activity, water, wind erosion and marsquakes may all have shaped the region. Melas Chasma lies along the central southern edge of the large Valles Marineris, the grand canyon of Mars. While the Valles Marineris is itself over 4,000 kilometers long and up to 10 kilometers deep, the region pictured spans about 70 kilometers. The floor of Melas Chasma seen here is several kilometers below the surrounding plateau.

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