Amazing Photos Show Huge Crater Filled With Ice On Mars

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released images of a huge ice-filled crater on the surface of Mars.

While on earth we get dustings of snow and frozen ponds, the red planet presents wintery scenes in a much more mystic and alien way, with ice filling a huge crater and creeping out over its edges.

The Korolev crater is a 50 mile wide feature located in the northern lowlands of Mars, south of a large area of dune-filled terrain which circles part of the planet’s northern polar cap, otherwise known as Olympia Undae.

The crater is filled with a giant ice mound, measuring from the centre at around 1.8km thick all year round.

The ice forms a glacier comprising approximately 528 cubic miles of non-polar ice on Mars and is the result of a ‘cold trap’ caused by the crater’s floor being located around 2km beneath its rim.

The deepest ice-filled parts of the crater act as a natural cold trap as the air moving across the ice sinks, creating a layer of cold air sitting directly above the ice which prevents it from heating up.
The image was shared by the ESA and is made up of five different pictures which have been collated to give an ‘oblique perspective view’ of the crater.

Posting it to Twitter, the ESA wrote:

''A beautiful #winter wonderland… on #Mars! This ice-filled crater was imaged by our Mars Express spacecraft. Korolev crater is 82 kilometres across and found in the northern lowlands of Mars.''

After seeing the image, some confused Twitter users had to ask for clarification about whether the crater held water ice, which I presume is just the same kind we have here on earth, or CO2 ice.

The space agency cleared it up, writing:

''For those of you asking – yes it is water ice. Mars Express first detected water on #Mars in 2004.''

If we ever do colonise the red planet, we should keep this place in mind as a potential spot for year-round ice skating. Korolev could be a real moneymaker – unless I’m underestimating how cold it is and we would all freeze, of course.

Meanwhile, another Twitter user shared another exclusive picture showing water on Mars.

Take a look here: