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  1. ITV Report

Gigantic ice-filled crater on Mars portraying idyllic wintry scene

The Mars Express mission celebrates 15-years of orbit on Christmas Day. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

An 82 kilometre-wide crater on Mars that may be topped with snow has been photographed by the ESA’s (European Space Agency) Mars Express.

The stunning untrodden snow scene comes as the mission prepares to celebrate 15-years since it entered the Red Planet’s orbit on Christmas Day.

Korolev, as the crater is known, is thought to be 1.8km deep, filled with around 2,200 cubic kilometres of ice.

The Mars Express was launched on June 2, 2003, before reaching the planet six months later on December 25.

Another view of the Korolev crater on Mars. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/PA

The ESA said: "This image shows what appears to be a large patch of fresh, untrodden snow - a dream for any lover of the holiday season.

"However, it’s a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway."

Five different "strips" were taken by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and combined to form a single image, the agency explained.

The Mars Express was recently joined by American space agency Nasa’s new InSight probe, which aims to shine new light on how the Red Planet was formed and its deep structure, by mapping its core, crust and mantle.