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The contribution of the HRSC camera in an international context

The digital terrain model of the stereo camera HRSC on which the film is based has made an important contribution to the exploration and selection of this landing site. It was created at DLR and Freie Universität Berlin at the request of the Mars 2020 project and evaluated together with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for the landing site selection and for the development of the navigation systems for the landing. But geological questions can also be answered with such precise data from the German stereo camera. In addition to the depth and volume of the crater lake, it is also possible, for example, to estimate the water flow of the rivers. For this purpose, the width, depth and gradient of the respective riverbed are related to the properties of the underlying rock. Precise, high-resolution topographical data from the HRSC, calculated by scientists from DLR and Freie Universität Berlin and made available to NASA and ESA, were and are indispensable for the selection of landing sites for earlier (Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix), current (Curiosity, InSight) and Mars missions that will be launched in 2020 and 2022 and land seven months later (Mars 2020/Perseverance and ExoMars/Rosalind Franklin).

ESA is currently examining whether the Mars Express mission, which has already lasted for more than 16 years and on which the HRSC camera is flying, must and should be extended for the eighth time.