ESA photographs ‘claw marks’ on the surface of Mars

science & space
These giant ‘scratches’ on the surface of the Red Planet were captured on camera by ESA’s Mars Express orbiter.

At a glance, these impressive geological features might look as though a giant creature has dragged its claws across the planet’s surface, but it is in fact important to acknowledge the scale of them – each individual trough measures 10km wide, descends 350 meters in depth and stretches for up to 1000km.

The region is known as Tantalus Fossae ( with ‘fossae’ meaning a hollow or depression ), with the troughs themselves flanking what now remains of the volcano Alba Mons.

These sprawling surface features were created when Alba Mons lifted up, warping and extending the surrounding area to create what are known as grabens.

The image itself isn’t technically a photograph but is instead a rendering made using data from the orbiter’s High Resolution Stereo Camera.

The resulting vista is undeniably impressive.