The ExoMars interplanetary exploration mission has helped scientists discover new volcanic trenches on the surface of Mars. The station transmitted to Earth images of the young Martian volcanic region Elysium Planitia.
ExoMars is a joint program of the European Space Agency and the Russian state corporation Roscosmos for the exploration of Mars. The main goal of the mission is to search for evidence of the existence of life on Mars in the past and present.
Scientists captured a new image of the young volcanic region Elysium Planitia on Mars [10.3 ° N, 159.5 ° E] on April 14, 2021 with the CaSSIS camera on the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) orbiter.
The image shows two blue parallel depressions known as Cerberus Fossae, young tectonic fractures thousands of kilometers long on Mars. They were formed as a result of tectonic processes and stretch for thousands of kilometers across the volcanic region. In this image, the CaSSIS camera is pointing directly into one of these 2 km wide fissures.
Cerberus Fossae is Latin for “Cerberus Fractures”. This is a reference to a mythical creature, a three-headed dog that guards the exit from the realm of the dead in Hades. He does not allow the dead to return to the world of the living, and the living to visit the dead.
One of the cracks is one kilometer wide and the structure is several hundred meters deep. The faults on Mars are filled with coarse sand, presumably basaltic. This sand is shown in blue in the combined images from the CaSSIS camera.
Elysium Planitia is the second largest volcanic region on Mars. Its dimensions are 1700 × 2400 km. The Cerberus Fossae area was identified by scientists as the first tectonically active area on Mars.