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LOOK: ExoMars Releases Amazing High-Resolution Photos of Mars

Nov 30, 2016 07:13 AM EST
ExoMars 2016 Launch
After the controversial Schiaparelli crash on Mars, the European Space Agency has redeemed itself via its Trace Gas Orbited. TGO has sent back its first high-resolution photos of Mars, revealing the astonishing alien Martian landscape.
(Photo : ESA via Getty Images)

After the controversial Schiaparelli crash on Mars, the European Space Agency has redeemed itself via its Trace Gas Orbited. TGO has sent back its first high-resolution photos of Mars, revealing the astonishing alien Martian landscape.

According to a report from Space.com, the TGO has been orbiting Mars and taking photos since it arrived on the red planet on Oct. 19. TGO was with ESA's Schiaparelli spacecraft, which met its demise when it crash landed on Mars because of a one-second technical glitch.

Using a Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) attached, the TGO managed to capture extremely sharp photos of the Martian surface. In a video released by ESA, the space agency collated all the Martian pictures sent by TGO to give the public a glimpse of what Mars looks like.

BBC notes that the TGO's closest encounter at 250 kilometers with Mars was when it passed by the planet's Hebes Chama region.

"We saw Hebes Chasma at 2.8 metres per pixel. That's a bit like flying over Bern at 15,000km/h and simultaneously getting sharp pictures of cars in Zurich," said Nicolas Thomas, CaSSIS principal investigator, told the outlet.

The first images of Mars sent by the TGO give CaSSIS to build a 3D map of the Martian surface via measuring the surface using soundwaves. The first photos released by ESA looks black and white because the region pictured was a volcanic area where not much colors are present.

"The first images we received are absolutely spectacular ― and it was only meant to be a test," said Thomas. "We will have to wait a little until something colorful passes under the spacecraft."

Meanwhile, CaSSIS co-investigator, Antoine Pommerol, said that despite the pressure on ESA after the Schiaparelli's failed landing, the TGO proved that it has been working perfectly.

"We were quite nervous but it looks as though almost everything functioned as we planned it. The resulting images are really sharp," said Pommerol.

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