Crater landslide

on 12 January 2022

A 5 km-long landslide dominates this scene, captured by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter on 13 April 2021. The landslide has occurred at the rim of a 35 km wide crater in the Aeolis region of Mars (151.88°E/27.38°S).

Landslides are geomorphological processes occurring under specific environmental conditions. On Mars as on Earth, they come in various shapes and sizes, and Earth analogues are used to understand similar processes seen on planetary bodies. 

For this particular landslide the failure area, from where the material collapsed, is slightly out of frame, although the transport and deposit zones show great details such as longitudinal striations and flow ridges. The impact craters on the lobe indicates that this is not a recent event, but it remains a challenge to accurately date its formation.

TGO arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018. The spacecraft is not only returning spectacular images, but also providing the best ever inventory of the planet’s atmospheric gases, and mapping the planet’s surface for water-rich locations. It will also provide data relay services for the second ExoMars mission comprising the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok platform, when it arrives on Mars in 2023.  

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Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO