Ice-filled crater on Mars photographed by European Space Agency

Ice-filled crater on Mars photographed by European Space Agency

Ice-filled crater on Mars photographed by European Space Agency

Although it looks like a attractive mound of snow on the Red Planet, the Korolev crater would be more suited for ice skating than building a snowman.

New images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft show an impact crater in the northern lowlands of Mars.

Mars Express mission captured this image of the Korolev crater, more than 50 miles across and filled with water ice, near the north pole.

The pictures come just weeks after NASA's InSight rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars and sent back a selfie.

The ice within Korolev crater is a permanent feature, despite the six-month-long northern summer on Mars.

The crater, which is almost 50.1 miles across, is just south of the northern polar cap, known as Olympia Undae, in the northern lowlands.

As air moves over the crater, it cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air which lies directly above the ice shelf, acting as a shield against heat and ensuring that the ice doesn't melt.

Korolev is named after the enigmatic rocket engineer Sergei Korolev, whose leadership in the Soviet space program vaulted the country ahead of the United States by launching Sputnik and later Yuri Gargarin into orbit. It went into orbit around Mars on Christmas Day of that year, making this month the 15-year anniversary of the beginning of its science programme.

The work never stops for NASA's InSight mission.

In this file colour-calibrated photo obtained from NASA, InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background on December 4, 2018.

And on Wednesday, it placed its first instrument on the surface, the seismometer - the first time a seismometer has been on the surface of another planet.

The French dome-shaped seismometer is a little over 5 feet (1.6 metres) in front of the stationary lander, about as far as the arm can reach.

"Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars", InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt said in a statement.

The seismometer, known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, was made by the French space agency, CNES. The ground is slightly tilted, and so flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, still need to make the seismometer level.

The tool aims to help scientists better understand the interior of Earth's neighboring planet by studying ground motion, also known as marsquakes.

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