Wild Mars crater's dark dunes will enchant your eyes

Gaze deeply into my crater, Earthlings.

ESA's Mars Express gifted us with this enchanting view of Moreux crater on Mars.

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

I'm not planning on ever going to Mars, but a new image from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has reminded me of the sort of sightseeing I'll be missing out on.

The view shows Moreux crater, which stretches nearly 84 miles (135 kilometers) across. A tall peak dominates the crater's center. Mars Express observed Moreux in October 2019 and ESA shared the image on Thursday.

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The ink-splash appearance of the crater's walls makes it stand out from the lighter landscape around it. "This darkness is thought to be a result of the dunes comprising sandy material rich in pyroxene and olivine, minerals with a typically dark appearance," ESA said of the image on Thursday.

The rugged crater offers a look at a diverse set of Mars geologic processes, from signs of ancient glacial activity to wind-carved dunes on the crater floor.

ESA also shared a perspective view of the crater's mountain that makes it feel like you're flying over it in a helicopter.

This perspective view of Moreux crater shows off the height of its central peak.


Mars Express has a talent for capturing eye-popping views of the red planet. Check out this slice of Mars or this frosty crater. And if you end up visiting Mars, be sure to send me a postcard.