​Hop on the Mars Express to Visit the Red Planet’s ‘Atlantis Chaos’ Region

A new animation shows a virtual flyover of one of Mars’s most geologically interesting regions.

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Aug 3 2015, 3:00pm

Feeling stressed on a Monday? Take a minute to visit Mars's Atlantis Chaos region, courtesy of the European Space Agency. It's a lot more chilled out than its name would suggest, especially when it's accompanied by gentle spa-like music.

Atlantis Chaos is the delightful moniker for a region in the southern hemisphere of Mars characterised by its tumultuous geology, which includes cliffs, craters, ridges, and general chaos terrain. The region is around 160km across, and ESA explains that some of its most exciting features are channels carved into the topology that could indicate past evidence of water on the planet.

"It is possible that standing water once filled the Atlantis basin and the adjoining depressions," explains a post by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). "It could even have covered an area of over one million square kilometres, making it roughly half the size of the Mediterranean."

The animated virtual flight was created by researchers at the Freie Universität Berlin using images from a DLR-operated camera aboard ESA's orbiter, Mars Express.

Mars Express has been imaging the Red Planet in high resolution for over ten years, and with a funding extension to the end of 2016, we can hope to catch a few more glimpses of the Martian surface before the mission ends.

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