Fly Over Mars and Into the Weekend

Like a majestic alien eagle.

by Samantha Cole
Dec 9 2016, 10:30pm

Image: European Space Agency/YouTube

Cue up some trippy electronic music and fly over the Martian valley where humans might one day walk, with a new video from the European Space Agency. One can almost imagine traipsing around on the surface.

The video takes us through Mawrth Vallis, a gouge on the Martian surface that stretches 373 miles long and cuts a mile and a half deep. The flyover begins at the mouth of the channel, in Chryse Planitia, and ends at the source, in the Arabia Terra highlands.

It's an animated version of the real thing and not actual drone-style video of Mars, of course. But it's compiled using very real data from the high-resolution stereo camera on Mars Express, a spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. That gives us stunning images like these of the surface and its features.

Mawrth Vallis is one of the most fascinating places on Mars, with evidence pointing toward it being potentially habitable—possibly holding liquid water—billions of years ago. For its interesting geology, potential for traces of ancient life, and sweet-spot terrain for a rover to roll around, it's on the short list of landing sites for the upcoming ExoMars 2020 rover mission.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.