The european Mars Express mission, which was launched on 2 June 2003, is providing important new data on the geology, mineralogy and atmosphere of Mars. Mars Express is giving us information about the history of the Red Planet’s climate and explaining the role and whereabouts of water on the planet. Thanks to the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) developed in DLR's Institute of Planetary Research, Mars is being mapped in three dimensions and colour for the first time.
The Mars Express HRSC images are now published under a Creative Commons licence: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.
Join us on a trip to our planetary neighbour. See breathtakingly beautiful pictures of its surface. Find out more about its geology, climatic history and moons, and learn about the history of its exploration.
A wealth of information about Mars, its surface, subsurface and atmosphere has led to a completely new view of the Red Planet.
The images shown in this gallery were generated at the Institute for Geological Sciences at the Freie Universität Berlin and published there as 'Highlights of the Month' in 2011. They present special Mars products obtained using the HRSC camera on board Mars Express.
The mountain massif of Phlegra Montes extends into the northern lowlands of Mars like a long, slightly curved salient. Stretching for hundreds of kilometres, this alignment of numerous mountains, rolling hills and ridges lies to the east of the volcano Hecates Tholus in the Elysium volcanic region.
Nili Fossae caught the attention of astronomers in the last century, when Mars could only be observed from Earth with ground-based telescopes. The grabens of Nili Fossae extend for several hundred kilometres along the eastern edge of the giant impact basin Isidis Planitia and, together with the volcanic region Syrtis Major, they form a concentric pattern that runs parallel to the edge of the basin.
It follows an elliptical orbit around Mars, undisturbed, almost lonely – the orbiter Mars Express. For 11 years now – to be precise since Christmas Eve 2003 – the first and, for some time now, European Space Agency longest-serving interplanetary mission has been travelling around our planetary neighbour.