Flight to Martian North Pole | Polarjournal
Perspective view of the crater Korolev near the Martian North Pole. (Photo: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

The images were taken by the HRSC stereo camera aboard ESA’s “Mars Express” spacecraft and picture the Korolev impact crater, named after Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Korolev, a pioneer of Russian space technology. Now ESA has captured the overflight of the crater near the North Pole in a video.

Mars Express is an ESA Mars probe. The main task of the mission was the complete mapping of Mars. It contains the study of its atmosphere, its surface, as well as the material, which is located at depths of up to two metres. (Photo: ESA)

ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft launched on a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket from Baikonur in June 2003 and reached the planet on December 25, 2003.

The released video shows a simulated flight over the impact crater Korolev in the northern lowlands of Mars near the North Pole. The video was created from individual images of the ESA probe’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), which was used to create a digital 3D model of the region.


The Korolev crater is one of the largest on Mars with a diameter of 82 kilometers and has walls about two kilometers high. In total, the crater is believed to contain between 1,400 and 3,500 cubic kilometers of water ice. The crater rim is covered by a thin layer of frost that stands out from the reddish-colored Martian surface.

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was a Soviet rocket designer and space pioneer who played an important role in the history of space travel. (Photo: Cosmonaut Museum Moscow)

Sergei Korolev – Chief Designer of Russian Space Technology

The Korolev crater was named after Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the chief designer and father of Russian space technology (1907-1966). The engineer Korolev developed the first Russian intercontinental ballistic missile R7 – the predecessor of the modern Soyuz missiles, which are still in use today. With his designs for rockets and spaceships, Korolev launched the first artificial satellite Sputnik into space in 1957 and enabled Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight in 1961. The rocket launchers, which launched Soviet research missions to the moon, Venus, and Mars, were also based on drafts by Korolev.

Heiner Kubny, Polarjournal

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