Hebes Chasma: Mars’ geological formation in gotogramma from the second sequence. Arsia Chasmata (left) – Crater (right)

The European Space Agency’s probe, TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter), in orbit around Mars since last October 16, recently tested Cassis (Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System) the camera can capture and transmit high-resolution pictures. The end result is a series of images of the Red Planet, processed and combined into sequences.

The first images have been captured from a height of 5300 Km, 44 minutes before the probe reached the point of minimum distance from the planet . and portray one of the slopes of Mars, Noctis Labyrinthus . the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics, who took part in the project, clarifies further technical details of the spectacular capture and confirms, among other things, a photo made superior to scientists’ predictions.

The resolution is 60 meters per pixel, the data is acquired in four color wavelengths simultaneously: those of

panchromatic channels , red, near infrared and blue. And the noise, scientists say, it is even less than what was expected.

The image processing, performed almost in real time, has been possible thanks to a team of engineers and astrophysicists led by Gabriele Cremonese INAF Padova, the co-pi tool, and 3D reconstruction software developed by them.

The second sequence was obtained by combining close- ups of the geological formation Hebes Chasma . Company not easy since the probe traveling at 235 km away from Mars at a very high speed. The images have a resolution of 2.3 meters per pixel .

Hebes Chasma: Mars’ geological formation in gotogramma from the second sequence.

The third picture (with zoom) portrays Arsia Chasmata near the volcano Arsia Mons and, to close the video, intervenes detail of a crater of 1.4 kilometers diameter. Please remember that the purpose of the ESA mission is to catalog the Martian atmosphere gas; a troubled mission as regards the fate of the lander crashed on the surface of the planet on October 20 . The incident did not compromise the mission continues and promises to give new spectacular images of Mars. Eloquent about the note contained at the end of the video: is just the beginning .

Arsia Chasmata (left) – crater (right)

Worthy of mention Italy’s participation in the project in collaboration with the University of Bern and Poland. The sensor and the electronics integrated in the camera close was provided by the Italian Space and Astronomical Observatory of Padova INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics), while Leonardo-Finmeccanica took part in the construction of the cam.

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