A Closer Look: Korolev Crater & the Moons of Mars

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 22 December 2018


 NASA, ESA, and STScI.

Hubble reveals Two Faces of Mars. Credits: NASA, ESA, and STScI

A Closer Look Reveals the Korolev Crater
Korolev Crater filled with ice, Mars, credit to Credit ESA/DLR/FU Berlin.
Credit ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometre-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars.


A Closer Look: Korolev Crater

ESA Inspects the Korolev Crater

Mars Express gets festive A winter wonderland on Mars,
ESA, December 20, 2018.


Korolev Crater
“...this feature, known as Korolev crater, is found on Mars, and is shown here in beautiful detail as seen by Mars Express.”

“The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology.“

“Korolev crater is 82 kilometres across and found in the northern lowlands of Mars, just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae).”

Massive Mile Thick Ice Mound
“...is filled not by snow but ice, with its centre hosting a mound of water ice some 1.8 kilometres thick all year round. ”

Korolev Cold Trap
“The very deepest parts of Korolev crater, those containing ice, act as a natural cold trap: the air moving over the deposit of ice cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself. ”

“Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy.“
Korolev Crater, top view from ESA Mars Express, Credit ESA/DLR/FU Berlin.
Korolev Crater, top view from ESA Mars Express Orbiter, Credit ESA/DLR/FU Berlin.


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A Closer Look: The Moons of Mars

The same advances in the Astronomical Arts that's made these remarkable views of Mars and its surface possible have also given us previously unprecented views of the Moons of Mars.

Phobos Orbiting Mars
Phobos Orbiting Mars, credit to NASA, ESA and Z. Levay (STScI), J. Bell (ASU) and M. Wolff.
credit to NASA, ESA and Z. Levay (STScI), J. Bell (ASU) and M. Wolff.


Phobos, “...orbits incredibly close to Mars, just 6000 km above the planet, making it closer to its parent planet than any other moon in the Solar System.”


“Sibling Deimos orbits much further out, at a distance of some 23 500 km.”

“While the origin of the moons is much debated, their fate is inevitable. Phobos is gradually spiraling in towards Mars and within 50 million years will likely either break up due to the planet’s gravity, or crash into its surface. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for Deimos: its orbit is slowly taking it away from Mars.”

Deimos Orbiting Mars
Deimos orbiting Mars, Credits: NASA, ESA, and STScI


Moons of Mars






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Korolev Crater, Moons of Mars, ESA, Mars Express, Hubble Space Telescope, Deimos, Phobos


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