Rolling rocks on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — In this image of the Martian surface, not everything is visible at a glance – subtle details that indicate geological activity lie in the structure of the steep slope that divides the image into two halves.

When approached, several large stones can be seen that have fallen from the slope, which, as they fell, left behind small depressions in the surrounding soft material.

This image was taken by the CaSSIS camera aboard the ExoMars mission’s Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on August 3, 2020, and shows a maze-like system called Noctis Labyrinthus.

The steep slope in the central part of the image is a horst-graben type system, which includes alternating upward (horst) and graben (down) soil layers, the movement of which is the result of tectonic processes leading to cracking of the planet’s surface.

The entire network of plateaus and canyons that make up the Noctis Labyrinthus system stretches for a total of 1200 kilometers, while the height of individual cliffs can reach 5 kilometers above the surface of the planet.

Everywhere in this image and, in particular, in its right part, you can see areas where linear sand deposits are located, formed under the action of the wind. The image also shows several small impact craters.

The TGO lander arrived on Mars in 2016 and began full-scale exploration of the Red Planet in 2018. This spacecraft not only takes beautiful pictures of the planet’s surface, but also measures the concentration of gases in the atmosphere, and also searches for water-rich regions.

It will also provide communication between the Rosalind Franklin rover and the Kazachok platform with our planet when these vehicles arrive on Mars in 2023 on the second stage of the ExoMars mission.

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