Water on Mars PICTURED: ESA shares incredible IMAGES of Martian ice crater

The Korolev Crater in the northern lowlands of Mars is nearly 51 miles across and filled with ice. The

The Korolev Crater in the northern lowlands of Mars is nearly 51 miles across and filled with ice. The

But now, thanks to findings transmitted to Earth from the European Space Agency's Mars Express probe, I can confirm that an enormous crater exists on Mars, that it is filled with an ice layer almost 6,000 feet thick, and that aliens go skating all year round.

However, it's a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway: "this feature, known as Korolev crater, is found on Mars, and is shown here in lovely detail as seen by Mars Express", said the ESA in a news release.

At the crater's centre is a pile of ice that's as much as 1.8 kilometres thick, the ESA added.

This domed deposit forms a glacier comprising around 528 cubic miles of non-polar ice on Mars. Due to something called the "cold trap" phenomenon, the ice is a permanent fixture on the planet. Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy.

The image was captured by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.

Perspective view of Korolev crater.

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Scientists named Korolev crater after Soviet-era rocket engineer Sergei Korolev, a man so important to the Russian space program that his name was a closely guarded secret.

Mr Korolev worked on the first interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus, and the Sputnik programme, which launched the world's first artificial satellite.

ESA's ExoMars Trace gas Orbiter started operating at Mars on 28th April 2018.

These pictures show the Korolev crater just south of the planet's north pole. The Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System aboard the Orbiter has also captured a handsome image of Korolev crater's northern rim, exhibiting its fascinating shape as well as its white icy deposits.

"The areas where ice is stable are highly dependent on both latitude and elevation, so there is only a small area on Mars where it is cold enough for ice in the shadowed interior of craters but it isn't present on the surface", Siebach told Fox News via email Friday.

Lead researcher Nicolas Thomas said Thursday the colors in the resulting image were also adjusted to best resemble those visible to the human eye. The 150 million euro mission is created to collect data on Mars's subsurface, surface, atmosphere and environment using the orbiter's seven scientific instruments, including the HRSC, which is being used to image the entire planet in full color and 3D at a resolution of about 10 meters.

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