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 January 24
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Valles Marineris from Mars Express
Credit: Mars Express, ESA, DLR, FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Explanation: Looking down from orbit on January 14, ESA's Mars Express spacecraft scanned a 1700 by 65 kilometer swath across Valles Marineris - the Grand Canyon of Mars - with its remarkable High Resolution Stereo Camera. This spectacular picture reconstructs part of the scanned region from the stereo colour image data recording the rugged terrain with a resolution of 12 metres per pixel. Joining Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, Mars Express has been orbiting the red planet since December 25th, returning scientific data, acting as a communications relay, and even making coordinated atmospheric observations with NASA's Spirit rover on the surface. The Beagle 2 lander was released from Mars Express making a landing attempt also on December 25th, but no signal has been received so far.

Opportunity Mars Landing News
Tomorrow's picture: Spiral Sunday

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