British space explorers find ice on Mars

Updated 2018-04-27 09:40:06 Xinhua

The UK Space Agency released a stunning image Thursday from a British-led team of scientists, showing an ice-filled Martian crater.

The image is the first one beamed to Earth from the new orbit of the ExoMars mission, which is supported by the UK Space Agency and Britain's Open University.

The image taken by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter from 400 kilometers above the surface of the so-called red planet, clearly shows the rim of an ice-filled crater called Korolev, which is located at a high latitude in the northern hemisphere of the planet.

ExoMars is a joint mission between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos. It comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which launched in 2016, and the ExoMars Rover which is currently being built by Airbus in Stevenage ahead of its launch in 2020.

The ExoMars spacecraft arrived in orbit above the Red Planet a few weeks ago. The camera system, known as CaSSIS (Color and Stereo Surface Imaging System) activated on March 20 in preparation for the start of its main mission on April 28.

Dr Manish Patel, from the Open University, a member of the CaSSIS science team working on the instrument operations, said: "The images that CaSSIS is beginning to return are simply fantastic. To see the quality of the color in these first images is a testament to the hard work of the CaSSIS team in getting the instrument to Mars on TGO.

"This image heralds the start of a great mission. CaSSIS has proven it is going to generate plenty of exciting images over the mission duration and provide a major step forward in our understanding of the seasonal cycles at work on Mars."

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