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Mars topography (MOLA dataset) HiRes (1).jpg

Korolev is an ice-filled impact crater in the Mare Boreum quadrangle of Mars, located at 73° north latitude and 165° east longitude. It is 81.4 kilometres (50.6 mi) in diameter[1] and contains about 2,200 cubic kilometres (530 cu mi) of water ice, comparable in volume to Great Bear Lake in northern Canada.[2] The crater was named after Sergei Korolev (1907–1966), the head Soviet rocket engineer and designer during the Space Race in the 1950s and 1960s.[2]

Korolev crater is located on the Planum Boreum, the northern polar plain which surrounds the north polar ice cap, near the Olympia Undae dune field. The crater rim rises about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) above the surrounding plains. The crater floor lies about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) below the rim, and is covered by a 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) deep central mound of permanent water ice, up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) in diameter.[2]

Ice formation

The ice is permanently stable because the crater acts as a natural cold trap. The thin Martian air above the crater ice is colder than air surrounding the crater; the colder local atmosphere is also heavier so it sinks to form a protective layer, insulating the ice, shielding it from melting and evaporation.[2][3] Recent research indicates that the ice deposit formed in place within the crater and was not previously part of a once-larger polar ice sheet.[4] The ice in the crater is part of the vast water resources at Mars poles.[3]

ESA photomosaic of Korolev Crater.

See The Wikipedia article on Korolev.

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