New imagery of the largest canyon in the solar system just dropped, and it's absolutely breathtaking.
The European Space Agency released images taken by its Mars Express mission yesterday of the epic geological structure, known as Valles Marineris and which is 20 times wider than our own Grand Canyon, as well as ten times longer and seven times deeper. Also unlike the Grand Canyon, Valles Marineris was most likely created by drifting tectonic plates versus running water.
ESA's photo of the canyon system, newly released but captured back in April, shows a deep sandy-orange gulf outlined by jagged cliffs and pocked by craters from previous impacts — a timely reminder of the extraordinary, lonely grandeur of our solar system.
The ESA's Mars Express has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003 to image its surface.
During that time it's captured more than a few eerie and just plain odd shots, like the image it dropped last month of an eyeball-shaped crater on Mars' surface. In May, photos of what appeared almost like giant monster-claw scratches went viral.
Space nerds love to love their favorite missions and satellites, and Mars Express certainly deserves accolades for a job well done. Here's to more jaw-dropping canyon photographs for years to come.