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Mars Express achieves 25,000 orbits
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Mars Express achieves 25,000 orbits
by Erica Marchand
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 28, 2024

Celebrating a significant milestone, ESA's Mars Express has completed its 25,000th orbit around Mars, capturing yet another breathtaking view of the Red Planet to commemorate this achievement. The latest image, taken from a high altitude by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), showcases the vast Tharsis region, known for hosting Mars's most colossal volcanoes, and features a surprise appearance from Phobos, Mars's largest moon.

Since its arrival at Mars in late 2003, Mars Express has revolutionized our understanding of the planet. It has meticulously mapped the Martian atmosphere, unraveled the history of water on the planet's surface, closely studied its two moons, and delivered three-dimensional views of Mars's landscape. The orbiter's comprehensive work has provided insights into Mars's atmospheric conditions, surface features, and geological history.

The Tharsis region, covering about a quarter of Mars's surface, includes notable volcanoes such as Olympus Mons, which stands nearly 22 km high-over two and a half times the height of Earth's Mount Everest. Alongside these geological marvels, the image also captures the Noctis Labyrinthus canyons, the Lycus Sulci landslides, and the Tantalus Fossae valleys, showcasing Mars's dynamic surface.

Phobos, Mars's largest moon, makes an unexpected appearance in the image, highlighting its proximity to Mars compared to the distance between Earth and its moon. Additionally, the photo reveals fascinating atmospheric phenomena, including clouds that introduce a blue tinge to the scene, and 'lee wave' clouds, which form in a wave-like pattern when air flows over an obstacle.

This milestone and the accompanying imagery underscore Mars Express's invaluable contribution to our knowledge of Mars, offering unparalleled insights into the planet's environment, geology, and atmospheric dynamics.

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