ESA’s Mars Express probe captured this cosmic contrast in Terra Cimmeria, a region located in the highlands of Mars’ southern hemisphere marked by impact craters and valleys carved by water with dust and sand in colors of chocolate and caramel.
Although we often refer to Mars as “the red planet,” a close-up view shows us a wide variety of colors, from white to black, yellow to green, and red to cappuccino, as in this photo.
These color differences are already visible with telescopes from Earth and reveal the wide variety of composition and properties of the Martian soil.
Although the largest crater, visible in this photo, is 25 km wide its depth is only 300 meters, due to the material deposited inside after its formation.
The surrounding structures also show us how water has extensively shaped the area, water that has been trapped below the surface by a layer of ice that has periodically melted releasing large amounts of liquid water to the surface even in relatively recent times.
In the area are also visible dark stripes of aeolian origin that show us how the prevailing direction of the winds blew in a southeasterly direction.
The Mars Express, in about sixteen years of activity, has shown us a large amount of surface changes revealing a world extremely dynamic and far from dead, finding also signs of tectonic activity relatively recent as well as the formation of strange seasonal clouds and the formation and melting of ice at the poles.

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