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Huge Martian Crater 'Korolev' Appears Topped With Miles Of Pristine Snow

"New images of Mars show an enormous crater that measures nearly 51 miles across and is filled with ice year-round, the European Space Agency reported."

"Known as the Korolev Crater, located near the Martian north pole, it's topped by 'what appears to be a large patch of fresh, untrodden snow – a dream for any lover of the holiday season,' said a statement by ESA, which released the images Thursday."

"But the space agency noted that the red planet is "a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway." (Mars is about 140 million miles from Earth, according to NASA. The distance can vary considerably, because each planet moves in its own orbit around the sun.)"

"The Martian crater was named after Sergei Korolev, the chief architect of the Soviet space program. Korolev, who died in 1966, worked on missions to the moon and Mars, and the launch of Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite."

"The floor of the icy crater is more than a mile below its rim, which helps create a phenomenon called a cold trap, keeping the ice stable and permanently frozen, ESA said."


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