Reull Vallis, MARS

Reull Vallis
Coordinates 42.6° S, 255.9°W
Length 945.0
Naming Word for "planet"
in Gaelic.

Reull Vallis is a valley on Mars that appears to have been carved by water. It runs westward into the Channels of Reull Vallis which runs north westwards into Hellas Planitia. It is named after the Gaelic word for planet.

Lineated Floor Deposits

On the floors of some channels are features called lineated floor deposits. They are ridged and grooved materials that seem to deflect around obstacles. They are believed to be ice-rich. Some glaciers on the Earth show such features. Lineated floor deposits may be related to lobate debris aprons, which have been proven to contain large amounts of ice. Reull Vallis, as pictured below, displays these deposits.

Scott C. Mest and David A. Crown

Department of Geology and Planetary Science, University of Pittsburgh, 321 Engineering Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15260,
Received 7 September 2000; 
revised 30 April 2001. 
Available online 4 March 2002.


The geology and stratigraphy of the Reull Vallis region (27.5–47.5°S, 245–270°W) of the southern highlands of Mars are documented through geomorphic analyses and geologic mapping at 1:2,000,000 scale. Crater size–frequency distributions are used to constrain relative ages of geologic units and determine the timing and duration of the various geologic events. The origin and evolution of the Reull Vallis outflow system and the extent to which Reull Vallis and other fluvial features modified the surrounding highlands are also evaluated. Rugged highland terrains were formed by repeated impact events and were extensively degraded and embayed by a series of plains. Highland terrains incised with well developed valley networks record some of the earliest fluvial activity in the region. Reull Vallis originates in Hesperia Planum, and dissects units of various types and ages. Truncated and bisected wrinkle ridges in Hesperia Planum indicate that the formation of Reull Vallis postdates ridge formation. The morphology of Reull Vallis suggests it had a long and complex history, including subsurface and surface movement of fluids followed by extensive modification by mass wasting. Volcanic and sedimentary plains units in the region record evidence of erosion by surface flow possibly related to development of Reull Vallis. Features produced by mass wasting, such as debris aprons and crater fill material, and aeolian processes appear to form the youngest deposits exposed in the region.

Abbreviations: geological processesAbbreviations: MarsAbbreviations: Mars, surfaceAbbreviations: surfaces, planets

 Original Article from Seattle Exopolitics Examiner

A “New Cydonia”
of ancient extraterrestrial monuments found on Mars

August 6, 11:12 AMSeattle Exopolitics ExaminerAlfred Lambremont Webre

ESA: The Dreaming Man at Reull Vallis

A major, new complex of massive, ancient terra-forms has been found in the Reull Vallis of Mars. The monuments were photographed by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the Mars Orbiter Express of the European Space Agency (ESA) on January 15, 2004 from a height of 170 miles above the surface of Mars.

The Reull Vallis site includes at least nine striking statues of human and animal faces clearly visible from space, including very large ground drawings featuring the profiles of primates and canines. Like the long-heralded Cydonia site, this intriguing new site also contains a large, pyramid-shaped landform that can be seen at the right bottom of the ESA photograph, where the channel of the Ruell Vallis turns and flows to the south.

The Face on Mars at Cydonia now has nine exquisite companions

Andrew D. Basiago, 47, president of the Mars Anomaly Research Society (MARS), made the finding in the ESA photograph captioned SEMBY9474OD. Basiago has termed the complex “New Cydonia” after the location of The Face on Mars that was discovered by Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, two computer engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center while searching through NASA archives in 1976.

Basiago’s discovery of the new location, which strongly supports the notion that The Face on Mars at Cydonia is an artificial object, is described in an eight-page report containing textual analysis and photographs entitled “Ancient Terra-forms found in the Reull Vallis of Mars” that is available at by clicking here (PDF).

ESA: The D&M II Pyramid at Reull Vallis

The D&M Pyramid reinterpreted

Basiago has termed the large, pyramidal land form that can be seen at the right bottom of the ESA photograph the “D&M II Pyramid” after the “D&M Pyramid” that was found adjacent to the “The Face on Mars” site at Cydonia by DiPietro and Molenaar in 1976. “D&M” refers to the initials in DiPietro and Molenaar’s last names.

In his report on the New Cydonia, Basiago observes:

“Like the D&M Pyramid, the D&M II Pyramid found at Ruell Vallis is not quite a pyramid but rather an irregular, four-sided mound biased sharply towards the northwest. One seems to possess a face, the other the long arms and legs and head of an anthropomorphic figure. These similarities seem to imply that these land forms are not pyramids at all but rather terra-forms that are… examples of the Martian propensity to craft natural land forms into works of art featuring the faces of humans and animals.

“D&M II seems to be a massive face that has weathered,” he continues. “There are smaller terra-formed faces immediately southeast of it and at a greater distance northeast of it. These findings tend to support the conclusion that it is another face and not a pyramid. I have long suspected that the D&M Pyramid is not a pyramid but instead a terra-form featuring a stick figure like a human child on Earth might draw.”

ESA: The Barking Dog with Orb Crater (Reull Vallis)

Martian orb craters at New Cydonia

The MARS report also identifies an apparent ancient Martian art form – the “orb crater.”

The report states:

“Ruell Vallis is a place where there are apparent craters inside of which humanoid faces have been sculpted. The irregular rims of these craters reveal that they are not the result of impacts by objects from space but rather have resulted from the act of creating the faces themselves. These art objects, which Basiago has named orb craters, are numerous in the ESA image.

“Paranormal researchers will recognize in these works of art the faces found inside of orbs in the orbs phenomenon on Earth. Faces like these are sometimes found staring silently out from the orbs that are captured by digital cameras. The ubiquitous nature of these land forms in the vicinity of Ruell Vallis indicates how… the surface of Mars has been terra-formed into works of art that show a child-like simplicity and spontaneity.”

One of these orb craters can be seen on the neck of a large terra-form featuring a barking dog lunging toward the channel of the Ruell Vallis.

Three Martian civilizations: Ancient, modern surface, and modern underground

With these findings of the New Cydonia complex at Reull Vallis, Andrew D. Basiago’s discoveries have now extended to three categories of intelligent civilization on Mars – ancient, modern surface, and modern underground Martian civilizations.

Basiago sees a Mars-Egypt connection in the artifacts comprising the New Cydonia.  The MARS report states, “This is one of a growing array of artifacts… found on Mars that establish the connection between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mars, suggesting that in antiquity one was the colony of the other.”

He continues:

 “My speculation is that Ancient Mars was a colony of Ancient Egypt, rather than vice versa. I say this because Earth had the abundant biosphere that could have sustained ancient civilization in its attempt to reach Mars. The Great Pyramid at Giza and the Great Platform at Baalbek, which may have been an ancient launch pad, may be evidence of this effort. I find it far less compelling that human beings on Mars reached Earth first, given Mars’ far less fertile environment. The human beings on Mars are probably the descendants of colonists from Earth, separated from us by the solar system catastrophe of 9,500 BC.”

In 2008, Basiago published a paper entitled The Discovery of Life on Mars that contains analysis and photographs of humanoid and animal species living on the surface of Mars, as well as many ancient Martian artifacts, that he found in NASA photograph PIA10214, which was taken by the US space agency’s Mars Rover Spirit in 2007.  You can download this paper by clicking here (PDF).

MARS’ report on the New Cydonia complex at Reull Vallis was released on July 20, 2009 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing by NASA’s Apollo 11.

In a related article on the huge, simian visage found in the Cydonia region of Mars known as The Face on Mars, the late Dr. Tom van Flandern, former chief astronomer of the U.S. Naval Observatory, concluded that the probability that The Face on Mars is an artificial structure exceeds “a thousand billion billion to one (1021 to 1).”  

Van Flandern wrote:

“In [the image of The Face on Mars], it is possible to see details in the image (once the right correspondence to the Viking image is recognized) that might have been intended to portray each secondary facial feature – eyebrow, pupil, nostrils, and lips. These are more plainly visible in higher-magnification views with brightness and contrast adjusted for each area because of the limited contrast in the image. Such views may be inspected at <> in the Cydonia section. Detailed study with image processing software shows that these secondary facial features exist where expected by the artificiality hypothesis, but nowhere else on the mesa. This rules out a background of many similar features from which we might pick out just ones that fulfill our expectations. Moreover, each feature is present at the expected location, having the expected size, shape, and orientation. The odds are against any of these features arising by chance, and against each feature having any of the four listed characteristics. Each of these probabilities has been carefully and conservatively estimated in a fuller treatment of this topic. The combined odds against all of these features being present and having all expected characteristics to the degree actually present, when taken together with the absence of similar features in the background, exceed a thousand billion billion to one (1021 to 1).”

This article is part of a continuing series on the exopolitics of the discovery of life on Mars.  Exopolitics is the new political science of outer space, the science of relations between our human civilization on Earth and other civilizations in the Universe.

For more info: MARS Takes Its Case for Life on Mars to the American People
Discovery of life on Mars by Andrew D. Basiago chosen #1 UFO story of 2008
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    Reull Vallis

    , Mars

    U.S. Geological Survey
    Geologic Investigations Series I-2763

    Geologic Map of MTM –45252 AND –45257 Quadrangles, Reull Vallis Region of Mars

    By Scott C. Mest and David A. Crown


    Color geologic maps of the MTM-45252 and -45257 Quadrangles of the Reull Vallis region of Mars.


    Mars Transverse Mercator (MTM) quadrangles –45252 and –45257 (latitude 42.5° S. to 47.5°S., longitude 250° W. to 260° W.) cover a portion of the highlands of Promethei Terra east of Hellas basin. The map area consists of heavily cratered ancient highland materials having moderate to high relief, isolated knobs and massifs of rugged mountainous material, and extensive tracts of smooth and channeled plains. Part of the ~1,500-km-long Reull Vallis outflow system is within the map area. The area also contains surficial deposits, such as the prominent large debris aprons that commonly surround highland massifs. Regional slopes are to the west, toward the Hellas basin, as indicated by topographic maps of Mars (U.S. Geological Survey, 1989; Smith and others, 1999).


    Approximately 60% of the surface of Mars is covered by rugged, heavily cratered terrains believed to represent the effects of heavy bombardment in the inner solar system about 4.0 billion years ago (Murray and others, 1971; Schubert and others, 1992; Tanaka and others, 1992). Much of this terrain, including that within the map area, records a long history of modification by tectonism, fluvial processes, mass wasting, and eolian activity. The presence of fluvial features to the east of Hellas basin, including Reull Vallis and other smaller channels, has significant implications for past environmental conditions. The degraded terrains surrounding Hellas basin provide constraints on the role and timing of volatile-driven activity in the evolution of the highlands.

    Current photogeologic mapping at 1:500,000 scale (see also Mest and Crown, 2002) from analysis of Viking Orbiter images complements previous geomorphic studies of Reull Vallis and other highland outflow systems, drainage networks, and highland debris aprons, as well as regional geologic mapping studies and geologic mapping of Hellas basin as a whole at 1:5,000,000 scale (Crown and others, 1992; Mest, 1998; Mest and Crown, 2001; Pierce, 2001; Leonard and Tanaka, 2001). Viking Orbiter image coverage of the map area generally ranges from 160 to 220 m/pixel; the central part of the map area is covered by higher resolution images of about 47 m/pixel. Crater size-frequency distributions have been compiled to constrain the relative ages of geologic units and determine the timing and duration of inferred geologic processes.

    Download this map as a PDF file (i2763.pdf; 44.6 MB).

    Note: This map is ~43 inches x ~39 inches and is best reproduced on a large-format plotter at 600 dpi or greater. The PDF version can be viewed on screen with Adobe Reader.

    Mars Express recorded a 62-mile-wide swath of the Reull Vallis east of the Hellas basin from 170 miles overhead. The valley may have been carved in the ground by flowing water.


    Mars Express snapped a spectacular stereo color picture from 170 miles above the surface of a 1,000 mile long by 40 mile wide swath of Valles Marineris, the so-called Grand Canyon of Mars



    Reull Vallis cuts right through the rim of a large impact crater. If the river had been flowing over a flat plain and encountered the crater's rim sticking up, it should have been diverted. However, if the crater was buried, the river would not "see" it, and could pass right over it. Then, as the landscape was eroded, the river could carve through the crater walls as they began to emerge. This is often seen on earth (e.g. the Susquehanna river cutting through the Appalachians) where mountains are lifted up but pre-existing rivers maintain their original course by carving through them


    NOTE:  I hate blurry pictures don't you?  Here are a few you can really see details.

    This is a THEMIS view of Reull Vallis
    NOTE:  The spelling changes from Reull to Ruell -  (Its the same place)
    Full data on this image has now been released via the THEMIS Data Releases website.

    This week we will be examining images of Reull Vallis. Reull Vallis is located in the Martian southern highlands, just east of Hellas Basin. This extensive channel system records an interesting fluvial and mass wasting geologic history of the area. Many images show interesting patterns of mass wasted material in the bottom of the channel. For more information on the geology of Reull Vallis see

    [Source: ASU THEMIS Science Team]

    Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

    [ Show Full-Size Image (GIF) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (JPG) ]
    [ Show Full-Size Image (PNG) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (TIF) ]



    The jumbled, chaotic terrain in this THEMIS image may represent a source region for the Reull Vallis, one of the larger channel systems in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Such regions of chaos are thought to form by the catastrophic release of groundwater. If this was the case, then the water would have flowed down gradient to the south and may have contributed to the formation of the Reull Vallis. The top of the image shows two short segments of channels that are interrupted by the chaos, demonstrating that there was a channel system in place before the ground foundered to produce the chaos. One of the more intriguing features seen among the jumbled blocks are narrow ledges that vaguely resemble bath tub rings in the way they conform to the topography. Two good examples are seen running roughly left-right across the image about a fourth of the way down. At first they appear to be layers protruding from the cliff faces, but upon closer inspection a more ledge-like character is evident. Note how they appear different between the south-facing and north facing cliffs. The occurrence of one of these features on the south-facing interior rim of the largest crater in the image but nowhere else around the rim argues against the idea that the ledges are due to a layer of rock cropping out throughout the landscape. Instead, they appear more like the edges of a layer of sediment that drapes the topography. It is possible that the sediment is mixed with ice and is best preserved in the shadowed portions of the terrain. There is no easy explanation for these unusual features. They represent one more Martian enigma.

    [Source: ASU THEMIS Science Team]

    Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

    [ Show Full-Size Image (GIF) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (JPG) ]
    [ Show Full-Size Image (PNG) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (TIF) ]
    Value   Parameter Value
    Latitude -32.7   Instrument VIS
    Longitude 247W (113E)   Resolution (m) 19
    Image Size (pixels) 3061x1203   Image Size (km) 58.2x22.9



    Current Events at Mars

    » November 30, 2005: The MARSIS radar on board Mars Express has suggested the possibility of deep underground water ice on the Red Planet. MARSIS is short for Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding. Previously, the area beneath the surface of Mars had been unexplored. But, in summer 2005, MARSIS revealed a 155-mile-wide circular structure at a depth of 0.9 to 1.5 miles under the surface of the northern lowlands in the Chryse Planitia region at Mars' mid-latitudes. Scientists have interpreted the structure as a buried impact basin. They wonder if it could contain a thick layer of water ice. Could there be other hidden impact craters elsewhere on the planet?

    At the same time, the OMEGA instrument aboard Mars Express has found indications that substantial quantities of liquid water may have been present on the early Mars. OMEGA is short for Observatoire pour la Mineralogy, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité – a visible and infrared mapping spectrometer.

    Scientists have suggested that clay-rich phyllosilicate deposits uncovered by OMEGA may have been formed by alteration of surface materials in the very earliest times of Mars. The altered material then may have been buried by subsequent lava flows. Later, the buried material may have been exposed by erosion or excavated by meteorite impacts.

    The clays probably formed during an intense cratering period in Mars' early history known as the Noachian Era. That time period lasted from from the planet's birth around 4.5 billion years ago to about 3.8 billion years ago. The Noachian era is the first and most ancient of the three geological eras on Mars.

    An active hydrological system must have been present on ancient Mars to account for the large amounts of clays that OMEGA observed. The long-term contact with liquid water that led to the clay formation could have happened in a warm climate on the surface of Mars. On the other hand, the clays could have been formed by the action of water in a warm, thin crust. The sulphate deposits spotted by OMEGA would have been formed after the clays. Sulphates do not have to be in liquid water for a very long time, although water must be there and it must be acidic.
    Picture: Mars Express evidence for large aquifers on early Mars »

    » February 25, 2005: The Mars Express high-resolution stereo camera has photographed water ice, glaciers, dust and volcanoes at the planet's north pole. Cliffs more than a mile high encompass fields of dark volcanic ash. Scientists wonder if the fields of volcanic cones, up to 1,800 feet tall, indicate very recent volcanic activity.
    Picture: north pole ice and dust »

    » February 23, 2005: Using its high-resolution stereo camera, Mars Express has recorded evidence of a five-million-year-old frozen sea near the planet's equator. Looking something like an Antarctic ice pack on Earth, the flat dust-covered plain, Elysium Planum, has an average depth of about 150 feet. Similar in size to Earth's North Sea, the Martian sea measures about 500 by 560 miles. The plain is covered with irregular blocky shapes that look like rafts of fragmented ice off the coast of Antarctica on Earth. The Elysium Planum ice is prevented from evaporating by a covering layer of volcanic ash. Meanwhile, the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer aboard Mars Express has reported methane and water vapor in the atmosphere above Elysium Planum. That may be a sign of life if the methane has been produced by a biological process in liquid water under the ice.
    Picture: frozen sea »

    » January 5, 2005: Mars Express, ESA¹s first mission to Mars, has been working in orbit around the Red Planet for a year. It arrived there December 25, 2003, and switched on its first science instrument on January 5, 2004. The spacecraft settled into its final Mars orbit on January 28, 2004. Since then, Mars Express has been producing stunning results.
    • One of the missions priorities was the discovery of water in one of its chemical states. OMEGA, the combined camera and infrared spectrometer aboard Mars Express, found it in the planet's south polar ice cap on January 18.
    • That water ice and carbon dioxide ice was confirmed by PFS, a high-resolution spectrometer, which also revealed the carbon oxide distribution is different in the northern and southern hemispheres of Mars.
    • The MaRS radio transmitter and receiver emitted its first signal on January 21. That transmission was reflected and scattered from the surface of Mars and then received on Earth by a 230-ft.-wide dish antenna in Australia. That measurement technique is used by scientists to see the chemical composition of Mars' atmosphere, ionosphere and surface.
    • ASPERA, a plasma and energetic neutral atoms analyzer that checks whether solar wind erosion led to the present lack of water on Mars, found a difference between the impact of the solar wind area and a measurement in the tail of Mars.
    • The SPICAM, an ultraviolet and infrared spectrometer, simultaneously measured the distribution of ozone and water vapor and discovered there is more water vapour where there is less ozone.
    • The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) provided the most visual excitement during Mars Express' first year over the Red Planet. The camera recorded the longest swath – up to 250 miles – and largest area in combination with high resolution ever taken in the exploration of the Solar System. That made it possible to print out a picture 80 ft. long by 4 ft. high.
    Picture: World's Largest Postcard »

    » December 22, 2004: The walls of Candor Chasma, one of the largest canyons in the Valles Marineris system. Traces of erosion in the canyon walls is similar to erosion in arid or alpine regions of Earth.
    Picture: Candor Chasma »

    » November 17, 2004: Coprates Catena, in the southern part of the Valles Marineris canyon system, is a chain of collapsed structures parallel to the main valley Coprates Chasma. The structures vary between 1.5 and 2 miles deep. That is a good deal less than the depth of the main valley at 5 miles deep.
    Picture: Coprates Catena »

    » November 11, 2004: An image of the Martian moon Phobos recorded by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express is Europe¹s highest-resolution picture so far of the Red Planet's natural satellite. The image of the side of the moon facing Mars was taken from a distance of less than 125 miles with a resolution of about 23 feet per pixel. Mars Express periodically passes near Phobos as it swoops close to the Martian surface, just above the atmosphere. The orbiting spacecraft turns away from the surface of Mars for a moment to train its camera on Phobos.
    Picture: Phobos »

    » November 3, 2004: ithonium Chasma and Ius Chasma in the western end of Valles Marineris, a giant canyon 2,500 miles long, up to 150 miles wide and up to 4 miles deep. The canyon system is one of the major keys to the tectonic and volcanic history of Mars and the Valles Marineris region is one of the most studied areas on the planet.
    Picture: Tithonium Chasma »

    » June 2004: Crater Hale on the the northern rim of the Argyre basin in the southern hemisphere of Mars.
    Picture: Crater Hale »

    » June 2004: The eastern rim of the Martian impact crater Huygens, an impact structure, about 280 miles wide, in the southern highlands of Mars. Counting craters counts on the rim indicates that Huygens Crater is almost 4000 million years old. That means the basin was formed in the early history of Mars and underwent heavy bombardment during the first 500 million years of the planet¹s lifetime.
    Picture: Huygens Crater »

    » June 2004: Claritas Fossae tectonic grabens on the Solis Planum plains. The smooth plain is peppered with impact craters and material excavated from the craters. A graben forms when a block of a planet¹s crust drops down between two faults. Grabens are often seen together horsts, which are upthrown blocks lying between two steep-angled fault blocks.
    Picture: Claritas Fossae grabens »

    » May 2004: The channels of Reull Vallis in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Reull Vallis is an outflow channel that extends more than 900 miles across Promethei Terra in the direction of Hellas Basin. It is some 12 miles wide and has cut more than a mile down into the surrounding plain.
    Picture: Reull Vallis »

    » May 2004: The smooth surface of the Promethei Terra in the southern highlands of Mars is caused by a thick layer of dust or volcanic ash that has covered all landforms. Even young impact craters have lost their contours due to in-fill and collapse of their fragile crater walls. This layer has been removed by the wind at some ridges and crater walls.
    Picture: Promethei Terra »

    » May 24, 2004: British scientists want to send another Beagle lander to Mars, in 2007. The first British lander – known as Beagle 2 – had been transported to Mars piggyback on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. Unfortunately, Beagle 2 disappeared as it descended to the martian surface on December 25, 2003. It has not been heard from since, despite attempts by Mars orbiters and radiotelescopes on Earth to pick up Beagle's radio signals, and attempts from orbit above Mars to photograph the lander on the surface. The Beagle 2 lander was the conception of Colin Pillinger, professor of planetary sciences, and others at the Open University in Great Britain. He named it Beagle after the ship in which Charles Darwin formulated his ideas about evolution while sailing around the world in the 1830s. Beagle 2 was intended to settle some of the questions about whether life ever existed on the Red Planet. Lessons learned from the failed Beagle 2 flight will lead to improvements in Beagle 3, including a transmitter for tracking the lander as it descends and reception of that radio signal by a Mars satellite. Other changes would place the radio antenna on the outside of the lander and use of a shock-reducing airbag that would not bounce. During the planned Beagle 2 landing sequence, the lander would have been upside down and folded in when it touched down. After landing, a lid was to have opened and solar arrays were to have folded out, and only then would the communications antenna have been exposed for transmitting. A Beagle 3 flight in 2007 would precede two rover missions in 2009 carrying instruments similar to Beagle's.
    Picture: British artist concept of Beagle 2 on Mars »

    » April 2004: Ophir Chasma is a northern part of the Valles Marineris, a huge canyon 2,500 miles long, up to 150 miles wide and up to 4 miles deep.
    Picture: Ophir Chasma »

    » April 21, 2004: Olympus Mons is an extraordinarily tall mountain. In fact, it is more than 16 miles tall. At about 88,000 feet in height, it is the highest volcano in our Solar System. Olympus Mons is so big that, if it were on Earth, its base would cover the entire state of New Mexico. Olympus Mons is three times as tall as the highest point on Earth, which is Mt. Everest. The volcano appears to have been dormant for eons. Olympus Mons is positioned in the Tharsis region of the Red Planet's western hemisphere. The Mars Express spacecraft, flying 170 miles overhead, photographed the western flank of the volcano. The steep slope on the flank at lower left is more than four miles above the martian plain. The broad plains west of the slope, at the top of the photo, are called aureole, from the Latin word for "circle of light." Aureole scenes north and west of the volcano feature gigantic ridges and blocks extending out more than 600 miles from the summit like flower petals. They may be the result of landslides or moving glaciers.
    Picture: Olympus Mons aureole »
    Picture: Olympus Mons caldera »
    Picture: Olympus Mons on the plain »

    » March 31, 2004: From 170 miles overhead, Mars Express used its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) to photograph an area of Mars known as Claritas Fossae on Mars – an ancient deformed area in the crust of Mars west of Solis Planum, which itself is a deformed area with volcanos southeast of a group of volcanos called Tharsis.
    Picture: Claritas Fossae region of Mars »

    » March 30, 2004: Mars Express has seen methane in the martian atmosphere. The methane was found by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS), which detects molecules by analyzing their spectral fingerprints. Those fingerprints are measures of the way molecules absorb sunlight.

    The amount of methane in the martian atmosphere is very small – about 10 parts in a billion. Scientists are wondering how the methane is generated. The gas may survive in the atmosphere only a few hundreds of years because it turns quickly to water and carbon dioxide. That tells scientists there must be some way the methane in the atmosphere is replenished.

    Considering what happens on Earth, methane production on Mars might be linked to volcanos or water and steam trapped in fractured and porous rocks. On Earth, hydrothermal fluids are found from several hundred feet to several miles below the surface.

    Alternatively, methane on Earth also is a by-product of biological activity, such as fermentation. That brings up the possibility of life. Biological sources of methane on Earth include fermentation in ruminant animals, anaerobic decay of organic material in rice paddies, and natural wetlands.

    The orbiter is designed to study the chemical composition of the atmosphere, which is 95 percent percent carbon dioxide and 5 percent other gases. European scientists expect Mars Express to find oxygen, water, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde in the atmosphere. Those gases could tell a story about the presence of life at sometime in the past or present on the Red Planet.
    Picture: an artist's idea of Mars Express in orbit »

    » March 8, 2004: Europe's lost lander, Beagle 2, may or may not have turned up in an orbiter photo of the surface of the Red Planet. The British-built Mars lander had been transported to Mars piggyback on the Mars Express orbiter. Beagle 2 disappeared as it descended to the martian surface on December 25, 2003. It has not been heard from since, despite attempts to pick up its radio signals by Mars orbiters and radiotelescopes on Earth. The photograph of the area where Beagle 2 should have landed has been described as showing four bright spots, which some hope may be the remains of the lander's parachute and air bags. Others say the picture is not conclusive. Beagle 2 had been intended for a landing on Isidis Planitia, a countryside said to have some hills and craters, which could have made a safe landing difficult.
    Picture: ESA artist concept of Beagle 2 airbags on Isidis Planitia »
    Picture: ESA artist concept of how Beagle 2 should have looked »

    » March 1, 2004: From 170 miles overhead, Mars Express used its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) to photograph the summit of a 3.29-mile-high volcano known as Hecates Tholus. The image featured the six-mile-wide caldera, which is 1,969 feet deep. To descend from top to bottom, a walker would have to go down more than one-third of a mile. Hecates Tholus is the northernmost volcano of a group known as Elysium. The photo reveals multiple caldera collapses. Seen on the flanks of Hecates Tholus are several features related to the flow of lava including lines radiating outwards and pit chains.
    Picture: Hecates Tholus volcano »

    » February 19, 2004: Mars Express saw one of the largest outflow channels on Mars, the mouth of Kasei Vallis. ESA scientists said the channel may have been carved by glaciers or gigantic water outflows. The blackish-blue colour probably is sediment. The bright streaks may be the result of winds. The photo was recorded by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) from an altitude of 169 miles. The area in the image is about 81 miles wide. The photo illustrates the difficulty in capturing the true colors of Mars when dust and haze in the atmosphere influence the scene. The Kasei Valley region is a labyrinth of valleys and sand dunes on Mars' western hemisphere. Meanwhile, Mars Express used its OMEGA instrument to photograph the planet's north pole ice cap. Previously it had photographed the south pole ice cap.
    Picture: Kasei Vallis »
    Picture: north pole ice cap »
    Picture: south pole ice cap »
    Background: false colors »

    » February 11, 2004: Mars Express photographed the highest volcano in our Solar System, Olympus Mons, on January 21, 2004. The mountain is nearly 15 miles high and the caldera at the top is almost two miles deep. The 63-mile-wide view was recorded from an altitude of 170 miles by the orbiter's High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC).
    Picture: Olympus Mons caldera »

    » January 27, 2004: The Beagle 2 lander has not phoned home so the European Space Agency is forming a board of inquiry to see how the lander came to be lost. The Beagle operations team will make a final effort to get the robot probe to talk back. They will send a command ordering Beagle 2 to reboot its computer. Unfortunately, they suggest that last ditch effort is unlikely to produce a positive result. The mission team remains sure that Beagle 2 hit its planned landing zone. They hope that eventually the powerful cameras aboard the American and European orbiters Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express will spot remnants of Beagle 2 on the surface.

    » January 26, 2004: A radio innovation occurred in the unsuccessful search for signals from Beagle 2. The Jodrell Bank Observatory developed a super-cooled receiver for its radio telescope facility near Manchester, England. The extraordinarily-sensitive receiver was used to listen for a Beagle 2 signal from Mars at a radio frequency near 401 MHz. A cooler receiver has less thermal noise making it more sensitive. The Jodrell Bank receiver's front end was cooled to 13 degrees above absolute zero. Its operators also used superconducting filters from the University of Birmingham to reject copious terrestrial interference found around that radio frequency. If there had been a signal from Beagle 2, the filters would have allowed it to be heard through interference. Jodrell Bank described the improved receiver as the best ever constructed in the world for that frequency.
    Jodrell Bank Observatory »

    » January 18, 2004: Mars Express mapped the planet's South Pole ice cap and recorded images of water ice and carbon dioxide ice using the orbiter's combined camera and infrared spectrometer. Looking down from its path across the martian sky, the robot probe is searching for water, ice and chemicals buried under the planet surface.
    Picture: South Pole Ice Cap »

    » January 15, 2004: From 170 miles overhead, the Mars Express orbiter photographed a 62-mile-wide swath of the Reull Vallis. The European Space Agency said the valley is a channel carved in the ground, probably by flowing water, east of the Hellas basin at 41° South and 101° East.
    Picture: Reull Vallis »

    » January 14, 2004: Mars Express recorded a spectacular stereo color picture from 170 miles above the surface of a 1,000 mile long by 40 mile wide swath of Valles Marineris, the so-called Grand Canyon of Mars.
    Picture: Valles Marineris »

    » January 13, 2004: Mars Express adjusted its path and entered its working polar orbit ranging from as low as 186 miles to as high as 6,835 miles above the planet. From there, the spacecraft will use a high resolution stereo camera to record detailed snapshots of the surface. It will be able to see objects on the surface as small as six to seven feet wide. Scientists on Earth will use data sent back by Mars Express to map the mineral composition of the surface, the composition and circulation of the atmosphere, and even the ground beneath the surface.

    » January 12, 2004: Still no transmissions have been received from the Beagle 2 lander. There will be a listening opportunity over Isidis Planitia January 14 and one in February.

    » January 10, 2004: Mars Express again passes over the area where Beagle 2 was supposed to land. From 195 miles above, it will listen for a beep-beep radio signal Beagle 2 is supposed to be transmitting. Mars Express also will listen above Isidis Planitia again on January 11, 12 and 14. So far, no transmissions have been received from the lander.

    » January 7, 2004: As it flies just 233 miles above the intended landing site at Isidis Planitia at 1213 universal time today, Mars Express will send down a radio signal in the hope that the missing Beagle 2 will reply. Mars Express also will be above Beagle 2 sending down radio signals on January 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. During the January 9 pass, the orbiter's high-resolution stereo camera will be used to look for the missing lander's parachutes and airbags. Earlier attempts by the U.S. satellite Mars Odyssey and several radiotelescopes on Earth to hear signals from the lander turned up nothing. Possible explanations include problems with the lander's transmitter, receiver or software. Or, it may have been destroyed on landing.

    » January 1, 2004: Mars Express is in orbit over Mars, but signals still have not been received from the Beagle 2 lander. America's twin exploration rovers are approaching the planet. Spirit is to land on January 3 and Opportunity on January 24, but they will not be near the Beagle site. Japan's Nozomi spacecraft had been unable to enter Mars orbit in December 2003 and flew on by the planet.
    ESA Mars updates »

    » December 30, 2003: The Mars Express flight control team at Darmstadt, Germany, used ESA's Deep Space Station in New Norcia, Australia, to maneuver the orbiter into a polar orbit around Mars. The orbiter will fly directly over the landing site at an altitude of 196 miles on January 7, 2004. The Beagle 2 landing site measures about 19 miles by 3 miles. Engineers hope the short distance between ground and orbiter and the ideal overhead position of the orbiter will increase the probability of hearing any Beagle 2 signals coming up from the ground.

    » December 30, 2003: A sixth attempt to communicate with Beagle 2 via NASA'a Mars Odyssey orbiter turned up nothing. Powerful telescopes on Earth also found nothing.

    » December 26, 2003: Twenty minutes after the 73-lb. Beagle 2 should have landed, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor snapped a picture of the landing site at Isidis Planitia, just north of the Martian equator. That photo revealed for the first time a 3,280-ft.-wide crater centered in the landing area. Could Beagle 2 have tumbled into the crater. If so, would its radio signal be blocked from Earth or would the small craft have been destroyed? Isidis Planitia had been selected because it seemed relatively safe. However, the ground around and inside the previously-unknown crater could be very rocky.

    » December 25, 2003: Mars Express, Europe's main spacecraft in the current flotilla of probes from Earth to the Red Planet, arrived safely over Mars. From its orbit high above the planet, Mars Express will search for water, ice and chemicals buried under the Martian surface. Its equipment includes a stereo camera which could be used in a search for the missing Beagle 2's parachutes and airbags. Mars Express eventually will be in position to listen for Beagle 2 transmissions from the surface. Mars Express joined NASA'a Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor in orbit above the planet.

    » December 25, 2003: The British lander Beagle 2 may have reached the surface of Mars, but no signals were received as researchers methodically searched for transmissions from the tiny craft. The Mars Odyssey orbiter above Mars heard no signals from the surface on Beagle's assigned frequency. Neither did the 250-foot dish antenna of the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, UK, nor the large radiotelescope at Stanford University in California. Engineers on Earth were unable to say whether the soft landing technology failed. If it did, the Beagle 2 may have broken apart while penetrating the Martian atmosphere or in a hard landing. On the other hand, it might have landed in good condition, but in the wrong place. Or, Beagle 2's clam-like lid might not have opened on the ground or its radio antenna might be pointing the wrong way. Or, a computer glitch could have changed the clock which switches its transmitter on and off to the wrong time. That could result in researchers listening for a signal at the wrong time. If it did land safely, Beagle 2's automated systems could survive for weeks or months.

    » December 19, 2003: The British lander Beagle 2 successfully separated from the Mars Express main spacecraft and began its plunge down to the martian surface in search of evidence of past or present life. Beagle 2 was ferried 62 million miles from Earth by Europe's Mars Express spacecraft. The small lander, characterized by one news agency as the size of an open umbrella, disembarked from its bus on December 19 and flew off on its own toward the Red Planet where it is to land by parachute on Christmas Day. Meanwhile, Mars Express continued on toward its own orbit above Mars.